PMC wants cramped UoP to give up land for library
In a show of largesse in an election year, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had recently revealed plans to develop a new library for the city on the University of Pune (UoP) campus. Standing committee chairman Vishal Tambe from the ruling Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had announced the setting aside of Rs 1.5 crore for the project during the civic budget approved last month.
True picture: The famous Jayakar Library already exists on UoP campus. Pic/Mohan Patil
PMC mayor Chanchala Kodre also sent a letter in this regard to varsity vice-chancellor Dr WN Gade last week, requesting land for this project. However, MiD DAY has learnt that several university officials view this venture as unfeasible and one announced with an eye on the upcoming elections.
Stretched thin: University of Pune main campus. File Pic
While the V-C has adopted a cautious stance on the proposal, others, including members of UoP governing council and administration, are disparaging this idea by raising basic questions, like is the varsity expected to function for students or should it open its gates to society at large?
“The proposal is very good, and the mayor herself is very positive about it. I will place this before the management council in the meeting, to be held on March 5, for discussion,” Gade said.
However, when asked whether UoP would allot its land to PMC for building the library, he smiled and passed the baton to the varsity’s governing bodies, which will take a final call on the matter.
It should be noted that UoP already has the renowned Jaykar Library on its campus.
“It is not possible for the varsity to build another library that too at the request of PMC, when many other proposed projects are facing shortage of land,” said a highly-placed source.
Technically too, UoP cannot allot its land to other local authorities like PMC, as the varsity itself had received its 411 acres of area on a 999-year lease from the state government at the time of its establishment.
Senior senate member of UoP Dr Gajanan Ekbote said, “UoP itself is facing shortage of space. So, the varsity would not give its land to PMC. Another thing is that Rs 1.5 crore is not sufficient for building a library. If PMC really wants to do something, it should contribute its funds to UoP’s Jaykar Library to make it more enhanced.”
Interestingly UoP itself is in search of a land to expand its campus. By some reasons the deal of acquiring around 100 acres of land in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) could not be worked out last year. But the search new sites are still on.
>> New library proposal announced in civic budget presentation last month
>> V-C has adopted a guarded approach on the bid
>> Varsity has 411 acres of area on a 999-year lease from the state government
“Though the total area of UoP is 411 acres, a major part comprising green cover and gardens comes under the forest department, which should remain untouched, according to rules. For the remaining land that can be utilised for the new infrastructure projects, the question is whether UoP should give preference to its own assignments or entertain such outside projects?” a varsity official said on the condition of anonymity.
“Till date UoP has not made a single infrastructural project by making a MoU with PMC. Basically why PMC need a land in varsity to start a library for the city when the local body can start in its own jurisdiction?” questioned a senior management council member.
When contacted, outgoing PMC standing committee chairman Vishal Tambe said, “We have proposed building of another library on UoP campus, which will be available to both students and citizens, by signing an MoU with the varsity. Where is the question of the varsity giving its land to PMC when all the powers of administration and maintenance of the library will remain with the varsity?”
In the offing
UoP’s new proposed mega projects and requirement of land for them:
>> New auditorium – 5 acres
>> Bhasha Bhavan – 5 acres
>> New building for technology dept – 3 acres
>> Sports complex – 27 acres
>> Science faculty, phase II – 3 acres