KU vehicle ban runs out of steam

An official panel on Wednesday recommended entry of vehicles of “desirous” teachers and staff members into the Kashmir University (KU) campus after obtaining special passes from the concerned authorities.

The recommendation was given days after the varsity administration imposed a blanket ban on entry of vehicles into the campus to make it “greener”.

A group of KU teachers, privy to the recommendation made by the panel headed by Dean Academic Affairs Prof Akbar Masood, said it was resolved during a meeting of the committee that cars of “desirous teachers” will be allowed to enter into the campus after obtaining special passes.

The panel has also asked the varsity administration to put in place adequate transportation facility at campus gates if the ban is to be imposed effectively, a source said.

The panel’s recommendation, however, hasn’t gone well with a large section of university teachers and non-teaching staff, who have accused the university administration of “buckling under pressure” of a few senior teachers who wanted the ban to be removed.

“What do they mean by desirous teachers? If the whole faculty tomorrow says they are desirous of entering into the campus, would they allow all vehicles inside? What is the fun of such a ban, which they are now trying to make selective and optional,” a group of teachers said. They alleged the panel was constituted to lift the ban.

“Rather than resolving issues that cropped up after its imposition, the committee was framed to find an honourable exit,” they remarked.

Several non-teaching staff members, said they had fully supported the vehicle ban but “the implementing agency is the administration which has to take the final call”.

A senior KU teacher said a section of teachers recently ran a signature campaign asking the Kashmir University Teachers Association (KUTA), which had supported the ban fully, to hold a general body meeting to discuss the issue. The campaign was signed by more than 100 teachers, most of whom wanted the ban to go.

 KUTA president Prof Muheet Ahmad Butt was part of the official panel headed by Dean Academic Affairs. The panel also included Prof S Mufeed Ahmad, Prof M Hussain, Prof Naseer Iqbal, Prof Anisa Shafi, President KUOA, President KUMSA and two representatives each of students and research scholars.

A KU official said revoking the ban or making it non-applicable for “desirous teachers” would mean its end.

“They (administration) got all out support on the ban, but by going lenient on it, they are sending out wrong signals that they had perhaps taken the decision in haste and failed to provide alternate mechanisms,” the official said. Registrar KU, Prof Nisar Ahmad Mir was not available for his comments.