City anchor: Funds in,approvals not: DU colleges wait to start upgrade

Most DU colleges received Rs 6 crore to Rs 10 crore from University Grants Commission,after the OBC expansion was announced.

Written by Aditi Vatsa | New Delhi | Published: May 16, 2013 1:42:19 am

At a time when questions are being raised over lack of infrastructure in Delhi University for the switch to four-year undergraduate programme,it emerges that most colleges have not been able to use funds for upgrade because of procedural hurdles.

Most DU colleges received Rs 6 crore to Rs 10 crore from University Grants Commission,after the OBC expansion was announced. But colleges require approvals from the land owning agency,municipal corporation and other departments concerned,before they can start construction.

“Some colleges,such as Miranda House,have been able to use the money,some are ready with plans while others have been unable to make concrete plans on how to use the grant. The strength of a batch of students has increased,but classroom size has not,” a teacher of Rajdhani College said.

Intake of students at colleges increased after 27 per cent reservation for the OBC category was implemented in 2009.

Hindu College plans to construct a girls’ hostel and an academic block. “We want to build a separate academic block,which will have more classrooms,labs and rooms for teachers. A girls’ hostel is also planned,” Pradumn Kumar acting principal for the college,said.

The college has an approval from all departments,but is still waiting for environmental clearance,Kumar said.

Ram Lal Anand College — which was looking to construct a five-storeyed building for additional classrooms,labs and a girls’ hostel — has been asked to pay “a composition fee” of nearly Rs 20 crore by DDA.

Principal Vijay K Sharma said,“These plans have been in place for almost two years. We had approvals from Airport Authority of India,Delhi Urban Art Commission and the Fire department. But had not received clearance from DDA.”

Recently,DDA wrote to the college stating that it had granted extension of time for construction to college land in Dhaula Kuan. The college now has till 2015 to start construction.

But for this,the DDA levied a charge of nearly Rs 20 crore for “belated construction”.

The college authorities said this amount is more than the cost of construction of the new building. “Our project will not cost more than Rs 8 crore,” Sharma said.

Colleges funded by the Delhi government seem to be better off.

“There is a problem in getting approval from various government authorities,it has been easier for us,” Purabi Saikia,principal of Bhagini Nivedita College,said.

But colleges said they are ready for the switch to the new format.

Hindu College acting principal said,“While science students have classes till 5 pm,other students get done by 2 pm. We will frame the timetable in such a way that classes are stretched over a substantial period of time. There won’t be any paucity of classrooms.”

DU sets up committee to help colleges

To make it easier for colleges to apply for approvals for infrastructure upgrade,Delhi University has set up an infrastructure committee.

Umesh Rai,Director of South Campus,said,“The committee comprises principals and bureaucrats. We are identifying issues and putting colleges into categories.”

“There can be two college categories — first,whose plans are ready and submitted and second,where no plans are approved. After this,DU would request Delhi government to waive off some clauses — a one-time exception — for infrastructure development,” Rai said.

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