We want our land back
More than 16 years ago the University of Mumbai handed over to the state government, in good faith, four acres of land of the Kalina campus for a central library for the student community.mumbai Updated: Jan 17, 2011 00:25 IST
More than 16 years ago the University of Mumbai handed over to the state government, in good faith, four acres of land of the Kalina campus for a central library for the student community.
In 2009, the state government signed a deal with Indiabulls Real Estate to build a library on half the land and luxury apartments on the other half. At a time when the country, including the state government is stressing on greater access to higher education, land meant for educational purposes is being given away to developers. The Hindustan Times reported about the deal on January 13.
The student community cannot believe that the state would do such a thing. Across campuses, students are talking about how the cause of education has lost to the lure of real estate. The most hurt are those students who study on the Kalina campus.
“The Vidyanagari campus is one of the few remaining green patches in the city. The raw beauty and its oneness with nature are what make the campus such a homely and peaceful centre of learning. Taking over our land for a library is one thing but using it to build luxury apartments is ethically wrong,” said Aditi Padiyar, 20, a student of phonetics and manuscriptology at the university
Rima Joshi, 22, a media student at the Kalina campus, said, “This land is meant for academics. The city has had enough of its commercial share. Mumbai University should fight for it.”
University officials, too, are going to take up the issue. “We have written to the vice chancellor asking him for the details of the transfer of this land. This land is meant to benefit students,” said Dilip Karande, a senate member. The senate is the highest governing body of the university.
Students are afraid that this might set a trend and education will no longer be a priority. “Educational needs should not be compromised for commercial priorities. The state needs to take into consideration students’ needs,” said Pooja Sachdev, 20, media student at VG Vaze College.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Rajan Welukar, said, “If the land is meant for academic purposes, it should be used for that.”
Alisha Arora, 20, a statistics students as Ruia College said, “The state could have won accolades for building a tech-savvy library but now they have got flak for being a profit-centric government.”