The district collector of Mumbai has directed the University of Mumbai to refund the Rs 2 crore that was allotted for the construction of a centre for promoting Hindi language, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed.
The centre, named Dr Rammanohar Tripathi Hindi Bhasha Bhavan, was to be built on the university's Kalina campus and was approved by the collector in June 2014. An amount of Rs 2 crores was sanctioned for the project in January 2015 and the university was required to utilise it by March 2016.
However, till date, the university has spent only Rs2.5 lakh of the funds and there hasn't been any construction for the Hindi Bhasha Bhavan. Only the foundation stone has been laid.
Hindi Bhasha Bhavan, along with the new examination centre, student hostels and staff quarters, are some of the MU projects that are yet to see the light of the day. A number of other buildings on the Kalina campus, including a cultural centre and a green technology building, have not started functioning more than three years after their construction, due to lack of occupancy certificates.
According to a university official, the government had approved Hindi and Urdu bhasha bhavans, after some professors of the two languages approached the government and apprised it of the need for the centres to promote vernacular languages. However, neither of the two centres have materialised, so far. The university has a Marathi Bhasha Bhavan, though.
"The university always complains of lack of funds. But when they have money at their disposal, they don't use it. It seems that the current government and the university administration doesn't care about Hindi and Urdu. One should treat all languages equally," said Anil Galgali, the activist who had filed the RTI query.
University sources said that the Hindi Bhasha Bhavan wasn't part of university's plan and the funds provided for the centre weren't enough. "The university won't build anything just because someone got the government to pay for it," said an official.
However, MA Khan, MU registrar, said that the university intends to build the language centres. "The university wanted to build one structure with provisions for various bhasha bhavans and other centres. If it had spent the money and constructed the building just for Hindi Bhasha Bhavan, the space would have been blocked," he said.
Khan added that the university was preparing a master plan for construction on the Kalina campus, using funds generated by selling and transfer of development rights (TDR) on Kalina campus to Maharashtra Metropolitan Regional Development Authority.