KATHMANDU, Feb 14: Various non-academic organizations including 13 NGOs have been operating unhindered inside Tribhuvan University (TU) premises during the past decade.
However, TU has not done anything significant about this.
The university, which earned a reputation for quality education, both technical and non-technical, over the quater century starting 1975, does not now look like what it was meant to be. More than a dozen non-TU offices and organizations have been situated inside TU premises with questionable justification, according to TU officials.
These offices include the Melamchi Drinking Water Project ( which occupies 136,900 square feet of TU land), Nepal Netrajyoti Sangh (occupying 54,760 sq ft), the Republic Tower (930,920 sq ft), the Laboratory School (591,408 sq ft), National Sports Council (383,320 sq ft ), Nepal Police (27,380 sq ft), the Kathmandu Center of Research and Education (KCRE) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (191,660 sq ft), the Ayurved Research Center under the Ministry of Health, Kirtipur Bus Park, the Public Basketball/Football Ground, Nepal Manka Khala (a Maoist affiliated organization),.the Lion's Club Blood Bank and the Cricket Stadium.
As the hostel buildings meant for international students were given to KCRE two years ago, TU has stopped welcoming international students of Nepali, Buddhism and Sociology at the hostels, said Krishna Prasad Acharya, principal of University Campus.
Additionally, a senior citizens' park is in the process of being laid out and TU has assured 54,760 sq ft for it. Similarly, the Ganeshman Singh Pratishthan has requested TU for 219,040 sq ft and Nepal Jorkhane Sangh has also asked for land for an International Jorkhane Stadium.
Many real estate brokers come to TU every day demanding TU land, said Prof Dr Tirtha Raj Khaniya, the vice chancellor . "Every day about 10 groups come here demanding land," he said.
Prof. Khaniya further said that almost all the decisions concerning land were made before he was appointed VC . "I took only one decision pertaining to land, to provide 136,900 sq feet for the Drinking Water Office about two years ago, as we had to pay Rs 50 million in dues for water supply. We provided the land in order to facilitate supply water to people in some areas in Kirtipur," he said. "The other decisions were all taken during the tenure of former VCs."
"An office of the Nepal Police is being set up for security reasons," Khaniya further said. "We are cancelling the decision to provide land for the Republic Tower. But I am unaware of the other offices and other decisions," he added.
Many of the decisions were taken during tenure of former VC Hira Bahadur Maharjan, who was appointed under the quota of the CPN-UML and Maoists. VC Khaniya, who was appointed under the Nepali Congress quota, is the successor to Maharjan. The Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist have been crippling the university, according to local sources.
The bleak story at TU does not end there. TU erected about five dozen huts and small shelters while the main buildings of the various TU departments were under construction. The huts should have been removed after the once the buildings were completed. But junior level TU staff and their kin still live in 52 of the huts, according to the Office of the Principal at University Campus, Kirtipur.
TU, established in 1959 when the great poet Laxmi Prasad Devkota was education minister, has 60 constituent and 1,084 affiliated campuses across the country.
In the beginning, about 3,700 ropani of land at Kirtipur (one ropani is 5,476 square feet) was acquired for TU from the locals. As per its conceptual plan, TU acquired about 600 ropanies from the locals after 20 years of its establishment. However, nearly 600 ropanies is yet to be brought under TU, according to confidential sources at the university.
If other offices including government ones operate from TU lands, these should benefit the university, including academically, said education expert Prof Dr Biddhya Nath Koirala. "TU has erred in directly bringing private and commercial organizations inside university premises. Allowing security forces inside the university is against international practice," Koirala added. "Now, it's just like a dumping site. If this chaotic trend goes on, the university will become the worst in the country."