KOCHI: Universities, the centres of education, are unfortunately engaged in a land tussle. The Thrissur- based Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) and the Wayanad- based Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) are yet to sort out their differences over land in Mannuthy. The issues are an aftermath of their bifurcation into two separate varsities in 2010. The disputed land is currently with the KAU and holds the Vice-Chancellor’s quarters, Agriculture Research Station (ARS) and many other structures.
The story of the land dates back to 1971 when the Agricultural University was established. Back then, the Veterinary College in Mannuthy and the associated land — which was with the Department of Animal Husbandry — was handed over to the Agricultural University. In 2010, when the Veterinary University was established, many of these land holdings were given back. “Close to 100 acres of our land still remains with the Agricultural University,” said a representative of KVASU. “An order issued by the government in October 2012 clearly states, as agreed upon by both universities, the currently disputed land will be given back to the Veterinary University gradually, within a period of three years. However, the order was stayed in December 2012 because of objections raised by the Agricultural University. We consider the order a violation of Section 55 of the University Act, 2010, and thus approached the government for a resolution.”
The delay in handing the land over, the representative said, has affected fodder production for the thousands of animals of the Veterinary University. “The VC quarters was originally made for the dean of the Veterinary University.” Sources close to KAU said the property allocated to KVASU has been taken possession of by the latter on the basis of a survey and KVASU is also paying the land tax. “On the other hand, the landed property attached to KAU is in our possession and ARS, Mannuthy, is paying the land tax. No document stipulates transfer of agricultural land to Veterinary University. We refute the claims raised by the Veterinary University.
The land is for cultivation and, therefore, should stay with Agricultural University,” KAU sources said. KVASU Act, Section 55 - 1 states: “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Kerala Agricultural University Act 1971 (Act 33 of 1971), the colleges, research stations, veterinary hospitals and other buildings together with the articles of furniture, libraries, books, laboratory, stores, instruments, and equipment and all other property owned and managed by KAU prior to the specified date shall, along with all the properties, assets, liabilities and obligations, stand transferred to, and vest in the University.”