In a far corner of the Kalina campus of University of Mumbai lies a maze of portable cabins. In these cabins is the Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (CBS), a joint venture of the Department of Atomic Energy and the University of Mumbai, that will turn 11 next month.
The CBS was launched in September 2007 and offers a five-year Integrated MSc programme in Basic Sciences for students who have completed junior college. But even after 11 years, the centre has not been able to get an administrative building to call its own.
It operates in a maze of temporary structures where classes are held and laboratories are set up. On Friday afternoon, in one of the “classrooms”, a lecture was given by K P Singh, one of the principal investigators of ASTROSAT observatory.
When the centre was set up, it was allotted space on the second floor of the Health Centre of the university. The university had set aside two acre for setting up a campus. Two hostels and an administrative building were constructed later. While the hostels are functional now, the administrative building has been awaiting occupancy certificate (OC) for the past two years.
“For two years, the administrative building was lying vacant. Now, we have refurbished the building at an additional cost with hopes that the OC will come through,” said a senior professor at CBS.
“Academically, we are flourishing and there is a good amount of research happening. But in terms of infrastructure, we need a permanent facility. It is irritating to know that we have a building ready to be used and yet, we cannot use it. The civic authorities haven’t paid heed to our proposal for two years now,” said another teacher. Director V K Jain was unavailable for comment.
An official from the building proposal department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said: “The BMC issues OC when all compliances are met with based on completion certificate. So, if these compliances are met with, we will issue an OC.”
Currently, the CBS has over 200 students pursuing MSc in four fields — Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. “There are around 14 classrooms in total. So, it becomes difficult to hold classes simultaneously. All of them are here in the portable cabins,” said a teacher.
There are around 12 full-time faculty members and 75 visiting teachers from the TIFR, BARC and IIT-Bombay.
The centre has recently set up a laboratory for experimental astronomy and astrophysics — the first such laboratory in the country.