State government’s plan to develop prime land adjoining the Gujarat University(GU), between LD College of Engineering and 132-feet Ring Road, faces strong opposition from some of the university employees, syndicate members and others.
Those opposing the plan question the right of the GU authorities to hand over the land to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation(AMC), which is reported to have held a meeting with GU authorities for a town planning (TP) scheme. Himanshu Patel, a powerful GU senate member, has asked GU vice chancellor M N Patel to produce evidence that the land belongs to the university.
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“VC can’t transfer the land to the state government if it is not the owner of the land”, points out Himanshu Patel.
Let GU prove its ownership first before anything else”, says the senate member, who is also a state Congress spokesperson.
Patel and several employees of GU suspect the move to grab the university’s land and hand it over to real estate developers or to some private groups running educational institutions.
“The whole idea is to make a quick buck by transferring the prime land to business groups”, remarks former GPCC president Arjun Modhwadia.
A senior BJP leader, on conditions of anonymity, said that since the area is an educational hub with LDCE, Government Women’s Polytechnic, Physical Research Laboratory, ATIRA(Ahmedabad Textile Industry’s Research Association) and Amrut Modi School of Management located in the area, efforts were being made by some private educational group close to the ruling party to acquire the university’s land by bringing a TP scheme.
The politician said that if the university wanted to develop the area, it could do it from its own funds as the university’s annual income from different sources was more than Rs. 25 crores. And it would not take more than Rs. five crores for resurfacing the road and installing streetlights on the road from LDCE to 132 feet Ring Road.
Though AMC commissioner D Thara could not be contacted despite several efforts, GU VC M N Patel revealed that he was invited to a meeting about a month ago regarding preparation of a TP scheme.
“We have not agreed to any TP proposal of AMC or the state government so far. But there is nothing wrong if a TP scheme is prepared for the development of the area”, said M N Patel.
“The road from LDCE to 132 feet Ring Road is university’s private road. The university maintained it despite the fact that it is also used by general public as well. But it has now become difficult for the university to maintain it properly and it would be good if the government takes it over, resurfaces it, installs streetlight and maintains it by preparing a TP scheme of the area”, says VC.
“The government can always acquire any land for public purposes”, pointed out M N Patel. Asked about ownership of the land, Patel said: “the land in question is university’s property and no one can challenge it”.
He said that it were the Congress leaders and their supporters in the university who were opposing the development plan.
“Congress leaders don’t want development,” alleged VC.