90 year old Andhra University has stood the test of time and still manages to remain functional and do a good job at keeping up with the times, while still retaining its old charm. While it is busy setting new rules in place, that will be effective from Monday, it faces a threat from the government itself.
Recently after students were found to be consuming ganja in the university hostel, the officials have come up with new rules for the campus. The security staff will now keep a stringent eye on people coming into the campus after 11 PM and students will be allowed to enter the campus only through the main gate, after showing their ID proof. Even the motorists who pass through the campus will be asked ID proof and the security will note down their purpose of visit.
While on one hand, the university is fighting hard to keep the campus drug and alcohol free, on the other hand it now has to fight against the government too. The university is in a spot with the government wanting to take over some of its land. The government recently took over 100 acres of their land in Vizianagaram. The land has been under the university since 2004 where a PG centre is to be set up with five programmes being taught. 500 rural students from Vizianagaram and Srikakulam will study here.
While the government’s move has been temporarily put off, thanks to the intervention of university officials, including VC G Nageswara Rao, treat still persists. While the District Collector and RDO have been understanding, the university will have to immediately set up a campus in the land, including a boundary wall. The university plans to build two hostel blocks too on the land, including one for girls. 100 girls reportedly study on the campus and few of them come from far. But for the cash-strapped university, this will not be an easy thing to do.
Development of the campus on this land will take Rs 20 crore, and the university simply does not have such kind of money. Hence the delay in construction of the campus in the first place. AU has three campuses spread across Andhra Pradesh, apart from the Visakhapatnam one. A PG centre stands over 100 acres of land in Vizianagaram, 200 acres of land in Kakinada and 100 acres in Tadepalligudam. The Kakinada centre is the oldest and has over 1000 students.
The university now feels threatened by the government as the Visakhapatnam campus started out with 1000 acres of land and has now been chopped down to 700 acres approximately. The reduced land has already been taken over by the government and now this. There was also recent talk, with Ganta Srinivasa Rao, recommending that Andhra University land near the beach road be taken over by the government to build an IT tower and lease out to companies. But stiff resistance from people has put an end to that.
The Hindu reports that the government is trying to acquire the university land in Vizianagaram to offer it to a private player. A lot of MoUs were signed during the second Partnership Summit and the government has gone on to promise land to everyone. Instead of finding alternatives and preserving the sanctity of the university, the government keeps trying to sell chunks of it off.