KATHMANDU, Dec 4: The teachers and employees of Agriculture and Forestry University have launched a protest after the office-bearers of the university who were appointed on the basis of the quotas of the major political parties started distributing the university’s land to organizations affiliated with their respective political parties.
The entire teaching staff is objecting to the decision to allocate land from the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Veterinary Medicine, and Fisheries Science to various political party-affiliated organizations. To safeguard the university, they have organized sit-ins and launched a campaign.
Associate Professor Himal Luitel revealed that the protest was sparked after discovering that 264 bighas out of the university's 334 bighas of land were fenced arbitrarily at different times to serve personal interests of the party. He expressed concern that the university's land has been consistently allocated to political parties, resulting in only 70 bighas remaining with the university. Luitel stated, "This is turning into a game of land grabbing, and that's why we are protesting to save the university."
He further explained, "We are conducting classes within the Vice Chancellor's office, continuing lectures, and simultaneously participating in the protest." The teachers and staff of the university have been protesting since November 30.
The Government of Nepal established Agriculture and Forestry University through the budget statement, designating 334 bighas of land formerly associated with the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science of Tribhuvan University, Rampur, to the newly established Agriculture and Forestry University.
In an attempt to resolve the land dispute between Agriculture and Forestry University and Tribhuvan University, a high-level dispute resolution task force, coordinated by Professor Gita Bhakta Joshi under the University Grants Commission, designated Chitwan Engineering College as an official college of the university in Rampur and encroached upon 40 bighas of land, as stated by the Save University Campaign Coordinator and Director of Curriculum Development Associate Professor Subir Singh.
Singh highlighted the ongoing issue in the land of the Faculty of Animal Science, Veterinary Medicine, and Fisheries Science. Approximately 70 bighas are occupied by Nepal Telecom, TU Engineering College, a local monastery, Shiva temple, and university central offices out of the total 170 bighas. He noted, "Officials are trying to distribute the university’s land to their political parties."
Additionally, Singh mentioned that the Dhurmus-Suntali Foundation initiated the construction of a cricket stadium five years ago near the animal husbandry area and fisheries farm, initially claiming only 20 bighas. However, it is now alleged that the stadium has encroached upon more than 40 bighas of land, according to Director Singh.