A boundary wall constructed at the MU Kalina campus, after a sustained mid-day campaign, has now been broken down again to park vehicles that come for PM’s Mumbai visit today
The portion of the wall that was pulled down for the entry of vehicles
We have had enough,” said the enraged students of the Mumbai University’s Kalina campus, where a compound wall, which was finally built after mid-day’s persistent reportage, has been brought down partially. The reason: to provide parking space for visitors to PM Narendra Modi’s event at BKC. Youth wings of political parties and students’ unions on the campus have objected to the move, calling it a systematic destruction of the varsity property, which is also a serious safety issue for girl students who live on the campus.
On the orders of the BMC, a part of the wall near the Rajiv Gandhi Centre and a girls’ hostel was bulldozed on Tuesday.
“We are doing what is essential and as directed to us,” said a civic official. Answering to reporters’ query at BKC on Wednesday, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “It was not our decision to create a parking lot at the Mumbai university campus.” The space will be used to park around 5,000 vehicles on Thursday.
Though the BMC has promised to rebuild the demolished portion after Modi’s event, the move has enraged the students.
The demolished portion is near a girl’s hostel
“An approach road was made by demolishing a portion of the wall. The BMC and MU authorities who are silent on the issue are jeopardising the safety of students, particularly girls, on the campus. I want to ask the MU and the governor if they are OK with the use of the campus as a parking lot for political events. Will the plot become a permanent parking facility now?” asked Advocate Amol Matele, an NCP spokesperson and leader of the Nationalist Student Congress.
“There are three entrances to the campus, and yet the BMC pulled down a part of the wall. This will cause a lot of inconvenience to the students and faculty on Thursday. This demolition has also raised serious concerns about students’ safety,” said Pradeep Sawant, ex-senate member of Yuva Sena.
Earlier, the campus was used to park cars and buses during CM Eknath Shinde’s Dussehra rally. “The MU campus should not be turned into a parking space for every other political event on BKC-MMRDA grounds. We demand that MU firmly ask the BMC to stop this use of our campus. Previously, the campus was littered with bottles, leftover food packets and plates, cigarette butts, etc. We do not want this to become a regular affair,” Ashish Dwivedi, an alumnus and Mumbai president of Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti.
A senior MU official said, “As per the BMC’s letter, they have demolished part of the wall to create an entrance for vehicles coming for PM’s public meeting... BMC officials said there was a need to do so as this spot was nearest to BKC.” When asked if the MU would be paid any remuneration, MU officials said, “Nothing had been mentioned in the BMC letter.”
The compound issue
Last year, through a series of reports, mid-day raised the issue of the missing compound wall at MU’s campus at Vidya Nagari in Kalina, which spans 253 acres. Students and faculty members had raised concerns about security, as anti-social elements would enter the campus.
Acting on a mid-day report in May, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission summoned the commissioner of the MMRDA, which had demolished the varsity’s boundary walls for their project. Later that year, the construction of the compound wall began, but it is yet to complete.