Millennium Post

Delhi University students protest against construction of high-rise in North Campus

Delhi University students protest against construction of high-rise in North Campus

New Delhi: Delhi University students on Friday staged a protest against the construction of a 39-storey building in North Campus, saying structure will overlook six girls' hostels and will be an "invasion of their privacy". The building is coming up adjacent to the Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station in the campus area. Students from Miranda House and Kirori Mal College organised a march in the campus and formed a human chain against the construction of the building. They raised slogans of 'Private building, down down'.

According to a representative of the Miranda House Students' Union, the building will overlook six girls' hostels which is "an invasion of their privacy." A student said the private builder should have held discussions with the Delhi University administration, the teachers' association or the students' union before beginning construction. She said they will also reach out to other colleges in the campus for their support since it is an issue that concerns every student of the varsity.

According to a representative of the Kirori Mal College students' union, there were some students who voluntarily joined the protest but they will reach out to more students to gather support on the issue. According to a faculty member of DU, 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 DMRC.

Subsequently, the DMRC sold two-thirds of this land by granting perpetual lease to a private builder in the guise of property development and by changing the land use from "public and semi-public facility to residential, he alleged.

Academic council member and KMC professor Dr Rasal Singh said the construction of such a high rise building in university enclave area will negatively impact the ambiance of the varsity. "If the 39-storey building near the Delhi University Metro gets constructed, it will not only pose a threat to the privacy of the girl students living around the university, but will also increase the danger to the historical buildings around it," said Alok Ranjan Pandey, vice-president, Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA).

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said it has followed all proper procedures and approvals in the issue. The issue pertains to a plot of land (3.05 hectares) acquired by DMRC in 2001 at Kingsway Camp for the construction of the Vishwavidyalaya Metro station, the DMRC said. After the construction of the Metro station, DMRC decided to utilise the surplus land available for property development as per which two hectares of land was leased out to a private party in 2008, it added. "Additional revenue earned from property development is used for

operational requirements and also for subsidising passenger services and loan payback. This move was contested by Delhi University, before the Delhi High Court.

"However, all forums, i.e, all civic as well as judicial authorities have ruled in favour of DMRC on merits. Further, all proper procedures and approvals have been followed in this issue," they said.

The concerned plot of land was acquired by DMRC after following all due processes of acquisition, it said. In the last hearing held on August 26, the Supreme Court has also declined to grant any stay on the matter, while fixing the next date of hearing for September 30.

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