HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement of constructing houses for poor in 11 acres of Osmania University (OU) land has triggered a row with students and teachers condemning the move. Many former faculty members and students say that there is no need to divert the land of the university for housing the poor.
Osmania University, which had about 2200 acres during its inception in 1918 has about 1400 acres today, after transferring OU lands to various central government, state government institutions and after encroachments by private persons.
Some of the OU land has been given to institutions like National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU), RTC hospital, State Archives and HUDA complex, Tarnaka.
“Over a period of time, OU’s land shrunk as the land was transferred to other institutions or leased out to other departments or institutes. While land has been transferred to institutes like NIN, EFLU and CCMB, it has been given on lease to institutes like Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad Public School (HPS), Ramantapur, OU petrol bunk at Tarnaka, among others. There are lands encroached by private persons. Even today, court cases are going on on encroachments of lands to the extent of hundred acres,” said an official from OU.
Besides central educational institutions, residential places like DD Colony towards south side of OU and Ravindra Colony, Hubsiguda towards eastern side have been set up by encroaching into OU land.
Being in the centre of city, OU land has been facing constant threat from encroachers and land grabbers.
Bandh shuts down OU
Complete bandh was observed in Osmania University on Wednesday in protest against Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao’s decision to construct houses in OU land. The OUJAC has given a call for 48-hr bandh which has the support from all sections of the students and staff.
While eerie silence prevailed in the Administrative building, Arts College, OU Library, among others were closed right from morning itself. Students burnt an effigy of KCR in front of Arts College.
“Osmania University played a key role in Telangana struggle and it is because of OU students, KCR became the Chief Minister. But after assuming power, KCR is trying to weaken OU, where mostly students from poor and middle class backgrounds from Telangana districts come to pursue their education,” said J Kalyan, Telangana Vidyarthi Nirudyoga JAC chairman and research scholar at OU.
Student leaders are planning to intensify the protests and also gave a call to boycott OU PGCET) to be held in June first half.
Seventh Nizam, Mir Omsan Ali Khan set up OU by issuing a firman in 1918.
OU had about 2200 acres in 1918 when it was set up.
About 600 acres was either transferred or given on lease to institutions like NIN, CCMB, HPS among others.
About 100 acres have been encroached and cases are pending in various courts.
Right now OU has about 1400 acres.
Tank Bund to be Closed
To ensure smooth flow of traffic, the Hyderabad Police imposed traffic diversions at Begumpet, Chikkadpally and Saifabad in view of road cutting between Karbala Maidan and the Sailing Club (near Buddha Bhavan Island) as part of beautification and purification of Hussainsagar from May 22 to 31. Traffic from Karbala Maidan towards upper tank bund will be diverted towards Bible House, Kawadiguda, lower tank bund. Traffic coming from RP Road towards Karbala Maidan will be diverted at Bible House towards Kawadiguda. Traffic from Telugu Talli towards upper tank bund will be diverted towards Necklace rotary, PV Ghat, Nallagutta and Karbala. No traffic will be permitted on upper tank bund from Ambedkar statue towards the sailing club. Traffic from Katta Maisamma temple towards the children’s park will be diverted at Vaartha lane towards the Indira park. No traffic will be allowed towards DBR mills from Vaartha lane. Traffic from Liberty via Ambedkar statue towards upper tank bund will not be allowed, and will be allowed towards Telugu Talli Necklace rotary, PV Ghat, Nallagutta and Karbala towards Secunderabad.
Ponnam Cautions KCR
Senior Congress leader and former MP Ponnam Prabhakar on Wednesday advised Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao not to take decisions in haste and reconsider his proposal to use Osmania University lands for sheltering the poor. Pointing out that KCR is drawing flak from students, he said not a single minister in KCR’s cabinet were in a position to enter the OU campus. “How much land do you need? What is the need for you to have several acres and a farmhouse?’’ Ponnam questioned and asked KCR to distribute his lands to the poor.
Academicians are furious over chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s proposal to take away 11 acres of Osmania University land to construct houses for the poor. Reactions of some of the academicians.
Prof M Kodandaram, TJAC chairman
I need to know the intention behind KCR’s announcement of using OU lands for constructing houses for the poor. I will be able to give my view on Thursday.
Captain Lingala Panduranga Reddy, president, Voice of Telangana, an NGO
If residential colonies are built on university lands, it will disturb both the students and colony residents. Osmania University is already subjected to encroachments, attempts were made earlier to use the lands for building colonies but they were stalled. Coming generations also need to be educated, and their requirements would be more. In the coming times, research centres should be built. The purpose of Chandrasekhar Rao’s announcement to use OU land, is to win votes in elections. Poor people should be allotted homes, but not at universities.
G Haragopal, Visiting Professor, National Law School of India University, Bangalore.
The very notion of the university is that it deals with the universe. If someone has to do experiments such as Big Bang theory, they would need huge structures. There were generations before us who did not take away lands, there are generations before us which needed land, this is a long link. This generation has no right to rupture the link. Space impacts young minds. Small spaces do not widen the minds. When people go to Himalayas, forests, one can see the impact of space on minds. It will be refreshing. Such environment should exist in learning spaces. Why are universities’ lands required for constructing houses for poor? Some people in Hyderabad have thousands of acres. Urban ceiling can be brought in to take lands. University is a public institution. It is an undesirable act on part of the government.
Prof B Satyanarayana, president, Osmania University Teachers’ Association
Universities will continue to grow. The number of buildings at OU 30 years ago were only half of what they are now. OU has completed 100 years of existence and we cannot expect the kind of changes after 100 years. Huge tracts of land were earmarked for universities with a great vision. New buildings for Centre for Plant Molecular Biology (CPMB) and biomedical engineering were built because land was available. New courses are being introduced every year. If there is no land, how can the university provide infrastructure like buildings for colleges? The university’s environs was disturbed during Telangana movement and it started becoming peaceful now. It is the government’s responsibility to protect the atmosphere.