TU leaves new univs in the lurch

  • property dispute
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
TU leaves new univs in the lurch

Dec 27, 2014-

Despite frequent directives from the Office of the Prime Minister and the education minister, Tribhuvan University is still reluctant to hand over its property to three universities established four years ago.

The parliament on June 17, 2010 passed Acts to set up three new universities. The TU was thus required to hand over Siddhanath Campus and Siddha Nath Multiple Campus to Far-Western University; and Surkhet Campus (education), Birendra Multiple Campus and Public Science Campus to Mid-Western University. Similarly, the Agriculture and Animal Sciences Campus based in Rampur and Forestry Campus, Hetauda had to be handed over to the Chitwan-based Agriculture and Forestry University.

However, four-years down the line, the country’s oldest varsity is refusing to comply with the provisions claiming that, as an autonomous body, it is free to take its own decisions. In the lack of adequate infrastructure, the three universities struggle to run their classes and expand their programmes.

Since the establishment of the new universities, successive prime ministers, who are ex-officio chancellor of the TU, have directed the university several times to release the property immediately. Following directives from then-PM Baburam Bhattarai, the TU in 2012 formed a committee comprising Education Secretary Suresh Man Shrestha, Prof Kedar Bhakta Mathema, Prof Ram Man Shrestha, Prof Yogendra Narayan Badbariya and Kuber KC to devise a way to hand over the land, buildings, goods and equipment to the new universities. The committee had suggested property handover following the due process, to no avail.

Chairman of the Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi asked TU officials in 2013 at a Senate meeting not to linger the process citing that the delay had hampered the operations of the new institutions. PM Sushil Koirala also asked the TU to complete the process urgently. On December 3, Education Minister Chitra Lekha Yadav, who is the pro-chancellor of the university, directed the TU authority not to prolong the process.

TU officials have said the education minister cannot direct them. “We are not obliged to follow her instruction,” TU registrar Guna Nidhi Neupane said at a function on Monday. “TU will not hand over the property no matter who directs us.”

TU officials claim that the decision to convert the colleges into universities was taken without its consent. In a proposal forwarded to the government, the TU has said it is ready to let go of the property if it gets adequate budget to set up a pension fund.

The largest university of the country is facing problems in managing pension for its retiring staff. It reportedly has demanded around Rs2 billion from the government as seed money to set up the Provident Fund in return for the property.

The new universities are facing problems also because the TU runs parallel programmes on the same premises.

At Rampur Campus, which was turned into the AFU, the TU conducts its own programme on agriculture and veterinary sciences. Similar is the case with the two other universities which are compelled to rent buildings for office and classes.

 

Published: 28-12-2014 10:20

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