Rules at times can be amusing, but that isn’t a licence to break them. The University of Pune (UoP) administration is learning this the hard way, while struggling to pay rent overdue for the last 25 years — a staggering amount of Rs 25. The pending sum was brought to the fore by an internal audit of the varsity.
Now the management is keen on clearing its dues, but on the other hand district administration officials are firm on going by the rulebook, and have said that UoP representatives should approach the Collector to decide the late-payment penalty on the principal sum.
Speaking to MiD DAY, tehsildar Minal Kalaskar, under whose jurisdiction UoP falls, said, “Though the amount of rent is negligible, it was the duty of UoP officials to pay it on time. Procedural issues pertaining to pending rent of government land given on lease come under the district collector’s authority. So, now the university officials cannot just settle the issue by paying Rs 25. They have to approach the collector first, who will decide what fine the varsity must bear for this negligence.”
As a public university, UoP had been allotted 411 acres of land by the state government for a lease of 999 years in 1948 - at a rent of one rupee per year.
When contacted, UoP registrar Dr Narendra Kadu said, “I agree that even though the amount of rent is nominal, we should have paid it in time. I know the issue, as it came up in the varsity’s recently held senate. The concerned UoP officials are facing some technical difficulties related to previous records. But, we will clear all the dues without delay.”
However, according to sources the crux of the predicament is the fact that neither UoP nor the concerned talathi of the area has details what amount the varsity paid 25 years ago.
“1989 was the last time UoP had provided the rent. But no one knows the figure, which means it’s likely the then representatives had paid some amount in advance. Surprisingly, neither the varsity nor the tehsildar’s have details regarding the same,” informed a UoP employee, on condition of anonymity.
1989: The year UoP last paid rent