UoP minting money with mobile towers

University of Pune (UoP) has found a way to kill two birds with one stone. Exasperated with constant complaints regarding dropped calls and myriad network problems from students, teachers and other functionaries, in June 2012 the varsity permitted American Telecom Corporation (ATC), a private entity, to erect four mobile towers on its campus.

On a high: One of the four new towers stands atop the law department building on the university campus. File Pic

So, by leasing out a few square feet of area to establish the spires on its 411-acre campus, UoP has not only managed to address the grievances of its pupils and faculty, in the past one year it has also pocketed Rs 36 lakh from various mobile operators in the form of rent.

“According to the contract, ATC is paying the varsity Rs 25,000 (per telecom operator per tower). The maintenance and power issues are attended to by the company itself. So it is a win-win situation for the university,” said RV Patil, executive engineer of estate department at UoP.

Incidentally, some telecom service providers, including Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), have not entered the campus yet. So, if all goes well, UoP can expect annual revenue of up to Rs 1 crore very soon. “Senior representatives of BSNL has already approached the varsity,” Patil told MiD DAY.

“Earlier making a call from the campus was a bother, but the situation is significantly better now,” said Dhananjay Potdukhe, a student of Modern College, Ganeshkhind. “If the varsity is receiving such huge revenues without any investment, I think the funds should be utilised for student-centric schemes. Perhaps the administration can subsidise the articles at the refectory, or offer more scholarships to students,” said a senior UoP official on condition of anonymity.  

Rs 36 lakh Amount the varsity has collected as rent from mobile operators over the past year

411 acres The total span of University of Pune campus

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