The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CU says no to property donations

Bogged down by mounting expenditure on disposal of examination-linked lawsuits filed by aggrieved candidates, Calcutta University (CU) has sought to curtail its legal spending by refusing donations in the form of property, either land or real estate. Instead, it will accept only cash endowments.

University officials said they were compelled to take the decision after finding out that most of the land and property donated to CU are “disputed”, necessitating a huge expenditure on litigation, with the cases dragging on for months together.

“A large number of students are moving court on exams-related issues these days, keeping our legal cell busy. On top of that, we have seen that most of the landed property donations coming to us are disputed. Since disposal of exam-related cases is our top priority, we decided not to accept any more property donations,” explained Joydeep Sil, estate and trust officer, CU.

Sil said the move was also prompted by a severe funds crunch. The university recently rejected an offer from a donor in Howrah, who wanted to gift several bighas to CU. The donor was even willing to allow the university to sell the land.

“The offer was good, but we still had to reject it, since the property was found to be of doubtful authenticity,” Sil said.

On the other hand, when an NRI doctor approached the authorities this week to sponsor two annual lectures to the tune of Rs 10 lakh, to be named after his mother, CU accepted the offer with alacrity.

“We have already initiated the process of organising the lectures,” said the official.

University sources maintained that the lengthy lawsuits involving gifted land and real estate have also creased the state government’s forehead. A strong directive from Writers’ Buildings has prompted the university move to reduce expenditure on fighting legal cases.

According to sources, more than 90 per cent of landed property of CU, situated in nearly 40 locations in Calcutta and its neighbouring areas, are “disputed”.

“The government provides us with Rs 1 lakh per month, which is spent exclusively on dealing with litigations involving properties donated by a single donor,” said an official.

Unable to bear the spiralling expenditure, the university recently approached the state government to take over all its “disputed” properties. But the government rejected the proposal, citing its own financial inability to deal with the cases.

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