The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) on Thursday, 12th September, raised its voice against the construction of a 39-storey high-rise housing society at the North Campus citing safety and privacy concerns.
DUTA has opposed the construction of a 39-storey building in North Campus saying it “would significantly alter the social and cultural landscape of Delhi University” and also compromise the “safety of women students”. The building is coming up adjacent to Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station, near Gate Number 3 and 4. DUTA also stated that the land originally belonged to the Ministry of Defence and was acquired for public purpose by the state government for the construction of metro station by Delhi Municipal Rail Corporation (DMRC).
Consequently, the DMRC sold two-thirds of this land by granting perpetual lease of ninety years to a private builder called ‘Young India’, in the guise of property development and by changing the land use from “public and semi-public facility to residential”, the DUTA alleged.
Sudhanshu Kumar, the Vice President of DUTA, stated, “This is the height of privatisation. It (building) would seriously compromise the safety and privacy of women students on campus as it stands in close proximity to several hostels that house women. It would also pose a serious safety issues for all students on campus, restricting their right to move freely in their own campus. It is clearly a ghotala committed by the State Government, DMRC and ‘Young India’.”
DU had also written to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Home Ministry, as well as the Ministery of Defence on this matter. Officials said that the proposed building is not viable keeping in mind security concerns for the North Campus students, since the building will have a bird’s-eye view of five of the girls’ hostels on the campus – Miranda House Girls’ Hostel, the Central Institute of Education, University Hostel for Women, Meghdoot Girls Hostel and the Girls’ Hostel of the Department of Social Work; apart from several other University buildings.
They said that there is already a severe paucity of spaces for students on campus, for their accommodation, recreation and for other academic activities and the use of this space for a residential complex is questionable in its intent. The Association has also notified that it “will take up the matter with the President of India, who is the visitor to the University”, in conversation with the Dainik Jagran.
Meanwhile, women living in the varsity’s 20 hostels have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, raising concerns over the construction of the high-rise building in the campus, saying that it will “infringe their privacy” and “prejudice the security” of students.
The letter reads, “…it (the construction of the structure) would directly infringe the privacy of all the women’s hostel in close proximity to the land, it would prejudice the security of the students who attend departments and colleges in North Campus, since being a private structure the activities that will take place in the building will not be open to public censoring and if such a building is to be constructed in the University area, it would curtail the students’ freedom to move around the campus…”
DU also insists that the construction of this building will come in the way of the Master Plan of Delhi, 2021, that has been envisaged for the city’s infrastructure. Moreover, according to the documents accessed by Mail Today, 228 trees have been felled for the construction of this building.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives