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No land to be taken: Bratya word to NBU protesters

Number of faculty members, students, employees and alumni have been demonstrating alleging authorities trying to hand over five acres land

Binita Paul Siliguri Published 22.12.22, 04:51 AM
Bengal education minister Bratya Basu in North Bengal University at Siliguri on Wednesday

Bengal education minister Bratya Basu in North Bengal University at Siliguri on Wednesday Picture by Passang Yolmo

State education minister Bratya Basu on Wednesday clarified that no land of North Bengal University will be handed over to the state tourism department or to any private agency, moments after he faced protests at the varsity campus.

Over the past few weeks, a number of faculty members, students, employees and alumni have been organising demonstrations at NBU, alleging that varsity authorities were trying to hand over five acres to the tourism department under the pretext of building an institute for courses on hospitality and tourism but which would go to a private party.


On Wednesday, when the minister reached NBU, he faced protesters holding posters and shouting slogans.

Basu, who spoke to newspersons soon afterward, said the decision on the land handover had been made in the state cabinet on September 19 this year.

“But as far I know, no varsity land will be handed over to any private entity. The tourism department will also look elsewhere for land. The cabinet, I believe, will ratify the decision in due course,” he said.

“The institution (for hotel management, tourism and other courses) will definitely come up in north Bengal. I cannot, however, comment on it further. The tourism department can only elaborate on it,” he added.

Samar Biswas, president of the NBU Teachers’ Council, however, said they will continue the protests.

“We will withdraw our protests only after the vice-chancellor (Om Prakash Mishra) convenes a meeting of the executive council and confirms that no varsity land will be handed over. He should come up with a written statement,” said Biswas.

During his visit, Basu inaugurated a new girls’ hostel at the campus, named Champala in memory of the mother of Rajbanshi social reformer Panchanan Barma.

“A sum of Rs 4.33 crore has been spent on the 90-seater hostel,” said a source.

Basu also launched the high-security radio frequency identification (RFID) system at the varsity library.

The minister also attended a workshop on industry–academia interface, jointly organised by the West Bengal State Council of Higher Education and North Bengal University.

He also presided over a function where a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Institute of Language Studies and Research, Calcutta, and the UGC’s Human Resource Development Centre of NBU.

Later, the minister held a meeting with principals of all 49 affiliated colleges of the varsity.

“A meeting was also held with the heads of 11 hill colleges with regard to Darjeeling Hill University. Anit Thapa (chief executive of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) and the Darjeeling district magistrate also met the minister. The minister also met with a number of people associated with the varsity,” said VC Mishra.

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