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Varsity to state govt: Measure Sen’s land

Visva-Bharati asks Bengal government to measure Pratichi's area, the family home of Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen

Snehamoy Chakraborty Santiniketan Published 17.01.21, 03:24 AM
Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen File Picture

Visva-Bharati on Saturday asked the Bengal government to measure the area of Pratichi, the family home of Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, to permanently resolve the land “controversy”.

“It is true there is an allegation against Amartya Sen and several other persons over encroachment of land. We are not claiming anything now. But we will request the state government’s land department to intervene and resolve the controversy permanently. It will be clear if the land occupied by Amartya Sen is measured. In that case, we, on behalf of Visva-Bharati, and representatives of Sen will be present on the spot,” Ashok Mahato, the varsity’s officiating registrar, told a media conference.


“If there is any additional land occupied by him (Sen), legal action will be taken,” added Mahato, who also looks after the estate department of the varsity.

Mahato and a few other officials called the news meet on Saturday to clarify their stand on the ongoing controversy.

“We calculated around 77 acres of the varsity’s 1,130 acres were illegally occupied by several persons,” he said.

Asked to confirm if there was any encroachment by Sen’s family and quantify the size of land apparently encroached upon, Mahato said: “I can’t tell you right now... as there are some legal obligations. Sen’s lawyer has already sent us a letter and he might take legal measures.”

He added that the varsity was yet to communicate with Sen on the issue.

Many in Santiniketan questioned the varsity’s intentions.

“This (intervention by the department) is a ridiculous suggestion as the land department never measures land till there is a specific complaint. It is surprising that the VC commented at a meeting and officials listed the name of Sen as an encroacher without informing him (the economist). The first information should have been sent to him,” said a senior varsity professor.

Several residents of Santiniketan believe the varsity convened the media conference as vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty is under pressure because of Sen’s global standing.

Visva-Bharati on Saturday claimed that economics professor Sudipta Bhattacharyya was suspended for launching a malicious “smear campaign” against one of his colleagues.

Asked whether service rules prevented a teacher from carrying out a campaign on any issue, Mahato said: “I don’t have the details…. There will be a committee to probe the issue.”

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