KU land up for grabs

STAKEHOLDERS SMELL RAT IN ‘FISHY VENTURES’; ZAKURA CAMPUS UNDER THREAT

IMRAN MUZAFFAR

Srinagar, Dec 29: Academics and officers at the University of Kashmir are up in arms against the Vice-Chancellor’s nod to some of the ventures involving the varsity’s prized land.
Informed sources told Greater Kashmir that while the vice-chancellor is contemplating ‘gifting’ a considerable chunk of 300-kanals Zakura campus land as ‘pathway’ to locals, the land inside the main campus is gradually squeezing for ventures—some of which, according to insiders, are suspicious on the face of it.
According to sources, the University acquired the land at Zakura after ‘hard efforts’ by a former vice-chancellor. “The University got the land for expansion of the main campus, for establishment of more departments, especially in view of the paucity of accommodation for students. But sadly this land is being gifted for petty gains. A few locals at Zakura are asking for a considerable chunk of land as pathway to their residences. The University is considering doing it without taking into account its repercussions,” the sources, privy to the development, said. “It would involve many kanals of land, given its length and breadth. Why should the University surrender the land which it owns? It is not a Khas-Charai or Nazool land that could be gifted to every Tom, Dick and Harry. It would be impossible for the University to dream of getting a patch of land in Srinagar, if it wishes so in future. So such moves are detrimental to the institution’s growth and expansion.”
Sources said even if the locals’ demands are taken into account, the varsity vice-chancellor is not the competent authority to take a call on the issue. “Let the matter be placed before the University Council for its consideration and approval. It is beyond the Vice-Chancellor’s competence to decide on such matters. The University has already given away much of the Zakura campus land for possible road-widening purposes. It cannot allow its further squeezing,” the sources said. “The Chancellor must intervene and see what’s happening in the campus.”
While the Zakura land issue is brewing into a controversy, some of the ventures in the campus have ruffled many feathers, including the establishment of the coffee outlet—Café Coffee Day—at Naseem Bagh.
According to insiders, it is unclear in the first place as to who owns the CCD and whether the varsity has entered into any agreement with its proprietors. “The CCD, for all practical purposes, has come up on the University’s prized land at Naseem Bagh which can’t be gifted to any non-state entity just for the sake of coffee,” they said. “There has to be a Memorandum of Understanding/lease agreement with the proprietors. Otherwise it is a fishy venture which has come up in the University for no gains. The University must come out with the terms and conditions of the CCD, primarily with regard to its ownership and land use rights.”
Highly placed sources said the issue of CCD establishment is being ‘probed’ by a few separatists as well—something which the University is unaware of.
Lately, according to sources, the Vice-Chancellor has been inaugurating ATMs on the campus. The ATMs have come up at different places, making academics and officers question the ‘wisdom’ behind ‘gifting land’ for so many ATMs.
“The ATMs are coming up on the University land. The question is does the University require so many ATMs? If the University is allowing establishment of ATMs on the campus, is it being done just for the sake of having a facility or it is getting benefitted monetarily in return? What are the terms and conditions involved? The Vice-Chancellor must come clean on the issues,” the insiders argue. “How can the University allow vandalization of the campus which would be known for its beautiful environs? The University is being turned into a concrete jungle for nothing.”

Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 30 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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