Will failed project lead to rift between PMC-SPPU?
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) had announced in this year’s annual financial budget that it would establish a new public library on the premises of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU), and kept aside Rs 1.5 crore for it. However, as SPPU did not show any interest in allotting the required two acres on its campus for the project, the PMC has decided to create a library on its own property at Ghole Road. The question that remains is whether the PMC will share bitter relations with SPPU and ensure roadblocks in giving approvals to various varsity projects?
Soon after civic body’s announcement about the project, mid-day had published a couple of reports (‘PMC wants cramped SPPU to give up land for library, March 3, 2014, and ‘PMC’s library project on SPPU campus may hit a roadblock’, May 13, 2014), highlighting how the varsity was least interested in allowing the civic body to set up the facility.
The library project was the brainchild of former mayor Chanchala Kodre, and according to her, she had had a positive discussion in this regard with SPPU Vice-Chancellor Dr W N Gade. In March, 2014, Kodre had even surveyed the land on the university’s campus for the proposed library.
“Since the beginning V-C Gade was very positive about the project. But the government council bodies of the varsity had objections about allotting land for the project. The university has had a history where its management council has opposed giving land to an ambitious project of the Central government. The plan was to establish a biotech incubation centre at its Science Technology Park. Due to the varsity’s refusal, the project went to Pimpri Chinchwad,” Kodre said.
She added, “We were requesting the varsity to give us at least an in-principle approval to the project, and assured them that the terms of the joint venture would be decided later. But we have not received any response from them.”
PMC Standing Committee chairman Bapu Karne said, “Initially SPPU had shown interest in setting up a public library on its campus. But, recently, it refused to allot land for the project. Hence, we now shifted the location of the library to our cultural centre at Ghole Road.”
SPPU V-C Gade said, “The PMC was in a big hurry to get the final approval from SPPU for setting up the library on the varsity campus. However, we discussed their proposal in our management council meetings and had come up with some alternative solutions in terms of allotting land.” When asked if the decision of the PMC to break the deal with SPPU would hamper the relations between the two parties, Gade said, “No, both the parties share good relations and we will continue to have a good rapport with PMC.” Standing Committee chairman Karne also had the same view. Karne said, “We will have good relations. No such thing, of bitterness between the two parties will happen.”
Lack of interest
However a senior official of SPPU, who did not want to be named, said, “Since the beginning, the varsity was not interested in giving its land to PMC for setting up a library. But after the way the deal went bust, especially with PMC’s top officials saying that they didn’t receive response from SPPU, it will certainly hamper relations between the two. The university approaches PMC for various approvals and if the corporation decides it can delay them.”