I have just read and signed the online petition:
"Save University of Hyderabad Campaign "
I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
To: The Prime Minister of India, From Save University of Hyderabad Campaign
We, the teachers at the University of Hyderabad, teachers at other Indian Universities, activists, and concerned citizens of India, strongly oppose all moves to alienate/gift away land originally granted by the AP State Government to the University of Hyderabad in 1974. The resource of land is very important for the future developmental needs and interests of the university that is still in its early phase of growth. Moreover, the land on which the University of Hyderabad is located is part of the green belt of the city of Hyderabad. The lakes, rocks and the natural green cover of the university landscape should be left untouched.
The current administration of the University of Hyderabad under the vice-chancellorship of Dr Syed E Hasnain has made several attempts to alienate huge chunks of the university land. In a short span of five years, it has attempted to alienate more than 1000 acres out of 2324 acres that were granted to the university. However, some of this land alienation has been successfully stalled through resistance. First it allotted 200 acres to CARE Foundation, a corporate medical organization. The university community fought a successful battle against that allotment and got it cancelled. Later it tried to set up a so-called Knowledge and Innovation Park (KIP) by allotting 200 acres of the university land to corporate firms for ostensible R&D activity. Again the university community through a massive protest opposed this move and demanded a thorough review of all existing land deals. Further progress in setting up the Park has been stalled, although the university website still displays it. Moreover, previous land deals were never reviewed.
The administration has, however, succeeded in allotting university land to The Energy Research Institute (TERI), Center for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), National Institute of Smart Governance, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) and so forth. The university administration is currently pressing ahead with moves to allot 150 acres to the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology (NIAB), and 30 acres to the National Institute of Design (NID). In all, this amounts to more than 600 acres of the university land.
If university land is being alienated at the behest of the State Government (as the university administration claims), this has serious implications for the autonomy of higher education institutions across the country. While some of the above-mentioned cases are state sector organizations and not private bodies, it is not clear how the specified allotments of land to those organizations are initiated and justified. Stakeholders such as teachers, students and employees have not been consulted (the university states this, as a matter of fact, in response to an RTI application regarding land alienation process in the university). Apart from these decisions being undemocratic and opaque, there is no justification for the amounts of land that are being given away. For instance, all campuses of TIFR in Mumbai, Pune and Bengaluru put together are situated on land not exceeding 75 acres. Why does TIFR require 210 acres in Hyderabad? Has it asked for that extent of land? If so, has it adequately justified its request? NIAB requires only 20 acres of land for its purpose according to experts on our campus, but why is it being given 150 acres?
We strongly believe that the current administration of the university has made generous and unilateral offers of the university land to curry favour with the science establishment and the powers-that-be in the Central Government, and it is also using government organizations as front institutions that will facilitate the entry of private sector bodies through Private-Public Partnership models.
We demand that:
1. Land being a valuable resource for the further development of a young university, the university administration should be made to adopt a highly cautious stance in considering requests for land allotment by outside organizations, whether private or public.
2. University administration should resist, not appease, the AP State Government’s attempts to take back land given to the university, for no transfer of land to any organization is legally valid without university approval.
3. All the land allotments made in the last five years of the reign by the current administration be subjected to a thorough review and reconsideration, and all land allotments already made but now deemed unjustified in the review be cancelled and withdrawn. This should include an assessment of the ecological damage that these allotments bring forth both to the university as well as to the larger urban space of Hyderabad.
4. All stakeholders of the university (teachers, students and employees) should be given a chance to thoroughly discuss the merits of any future proposal to alienate university land.
5. A committee should be formed at the national level that will look
into land alienation issues pertaining to any Indian University.