No funds Mumbai University to spend over Rs 25-crore on idle centre

Updated: Feb 12, 2020, 07:59 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

Bal Apte Centre for Studies has not witnessed activity since it was formed; students say funds sanctioned for it could be put to better use

The Bal Apte Centre for Studies was set up following the recommendation of former education minister Vinod Tawde. File pic
The Bal Apte Centre for Studies was set up following the recommendation of former education minister Vinod Tawde. File pic

The Mumbai University's Bal Apte Centre for Studies, which is named after the late Rajya Sabha member of Parliament from the BJP and an ideologue of RSS; has been embroiled in controversy three years after it was formed with the sanction of a huge grant of Rs 25 crore. After pointing out how the centre has not held any activity, students are alleging that the varsity has money to splurge on it, while their huge list of demands remains unfulfilled due to lack of funds.

The Bal Apte Centre for Studies was set up with the sanction of a huge grant from the state government following the recommendation of then education minister, Vinod Tawde.

The objective of the centre was to offer varied courses from short-term and certificate, to masters and PhD level programmes on topics such as career planning, youth leadership and youth empowerment and so on.

It was also listed how the centre would hold national and international seminars on youth movement besides maintaining an art gallery, museum and library. It has also been approved that apart from the initial grant, it has been sanctioned Rs 58.78 lakh for recurring expenditure.

According to students, this expenditure is completely unrelated to their demands and needs, and points to a different agenda.

President of Maharashtra Students' Union (MASU), Siddharth Ingle said, "This expenditure on a defunct study centre that was proposed three years ago and still remains inactive, is a complete waste of funds when students are struggling with several issues due to lack of funds. There is severe shortage of hostel accommodation in the Mumbai University. Increasing the facility has been the long-standing demand of many students."

The MASU had filed an RTI about the debated centre to find the expenditure on it, and learnt about the sanctioned Rs 25-crore and recurring expense. "The response to it has been revealing. We are shocked as to how the varsity agreed to set up a centre with this huge expenditure, but when we approach them for a hostel for students, we are repeatedly told about the lack of funds. Students did not ask for this centre, nor is there any clarity on its objective.

"Who is the varsity administration trying to please? Shouldn't students' needs be in the forefront for the administration?" questioned Ingle, further adding that MASU plans to hold an agitation against inappropriate funding.

Despite repeated attempts to contact him, there was no response from the Mumbai University PRO, Liladhar Bansod.

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