With the government strained to provide funds for modernising Calcutta University’s Asutosh Museum and central library, the university authorities have appealed to a high-power team of the University Grants Commission (UGC) to bail them out.
Sources said the Calcutta University (CU) authorities have asked the visiting team for Rs 50 lakh for the modernisation projects and an additional Rs 50 lakh for a studio for the journalism department. The UGC team is in the city to ascertain the financial requirements of the university during the 10th Plan.
A few years ago, the university had reportedly appealed to the state government to provide funds for modernising the central library. But because of a financial crunch, the request was turned down.
According to sources, the UGC team is weighing the proposal for funds. “We are also likely to get maintenance cost for the central library and the studio, once the UGC approves of our plan for the twin projects,” said a senior official.
D.P. Dey, secretary, faculty of arts, law, journalism, education and library science, said on Tuesday that CU requires at least Rs 50 lakh for upgrading the library, which contains about 62,000 precious manuscripts in different languages — Bengali, Tamil, Hindi, Persian, Pali, Sanskrit and English. “We have plans to microfilm all these manuscripts,” said Dey. He added that the university wanted to set up an Internet facility in the library by utilising the funds, provided by the UGC, during the 10th Plan.
Tapati Basu, senior professor and former head of the journalism department, confirmed that her department had asked for another Rs 50 lakh for setting up a studio.
“We are aware of the growing popularity of the electronic media, which plays an important role in teaching students. For that purpose, we need a studio,” Basu added. She claimed that the universities of Aurangabad, Pune and Kerala have already set up such studios for students of journalism and mass communication.
Sources said Kapil Kumar, director of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), who is also a member of the visiting UGC team, has shown interest in the journalism department’s proposal. The UGC team, headed by V.R. Mehta, former vice-chancellor, Delhi University, arrived on Monday and will leave the city on Thursday.