Thursday, 28 January 2010

Ramjas college protest against land takeover for CWG

Ramjas College faculty members and students held a demonstration on the campus on Thursday in protest against the alleged manner of takeover of college land for the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

The college had consented in November last to surrendering 865 square metres of land from its premises for widening of roads. Later according to a revised plan, instead of 865 sq. m. the college was asked in January to surrender 112 sq. m. at the Principal’s bungalow premises near Kranti Chowk and 745 sq. m. at Kranti Chowk (which included the parking lot in the college premises) along Sudhir Bose Marg and at Maurice Nagar Chowk.

Work related to road-widening and beautification by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi or the Delhi Engineers Ltd will take place in the area. The college authorities received a letter to this effect on January 20. However, before the college authorities received the letter seeking consent, labourers allegedly arrived to carry out work on the Principal’s bungalow premises last December. The bungalow premises are part of the Ramjas College Trust land.

“The Ramjas College Trust has to be consulted before any kind of work can begin on college land. Though a letter seeking consent was received, approval was yet to be granted,” a faculty member said.

The Ramjas College Principal, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, said: “The proposal to surrender 112 sq. m. from the Principal’s residence will mean that the distance between the house windows and the main road would be 14 to 16 feet. Not only this, a number of trees and fauna in the lawn would be destroyed.”

“Also the area that is being asked from the college includes a good portion of the car park,” Dr. Prasad added.

The college has reportedly asked for Rs.13.3 crore as compensation to build underground parking, stilt parking on the ground floor and other structures. Dr. Prasad said: “We have willingly cooperated with preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Not only have we given our sports ground for Games-related construction, rooms in the college hostel too will be available for CWG delegates to stay. Our students are also participating as volunteers for the Games.”

“We have gladly cooperated in the past and wish to continue in the future, but this had to be protested against,” he added.

The road widening work which will reportedly be carried out in the area too has invited disapproval. “What is the point of widening the road? Is it not serviceable enough? There are already enough roads leading to the university grounds where the main event will take place,” associate professor Debraj Mookerjee said.

Political Science Department teacher Tanvir Aeijaz added: “By broadening the road, it will become a thoroughfare and be open to all kinds of vehicular traffic while the idea has always been to maintain a compact university.”


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