Chennai: A compound wall separating the Anna and Madras universities in their Guindy campus is facing stiff opposition from faculty members and students of Madras University. They allege that the wall prevents their access to basic amenities such as a bank, canteen, health centre and playgrounds in the neighbouring campus.
Following a government order, seven science departments of the University of Madras had vacated Alagappa College of Technology in Guindy premises and moved to a new building constructed in the same campus.
Both Anna University and Madras University had also agreed to build a wall separating the two universities. The compound wall, which is now in the completion stage, is a stumbling block for Madras University students. “Our campus does not have a separate canteen, ATM, health centre and playgrounds. We are dependent on the facilities available at Anna University. But, the new compound wall is blocking the only road connecting Alagappa College of Technology and Department of Theoretical Physics,” students said in their petition while demanding a separate gate between Madras University and Anna University near AC Tech.
Madras University's Guindy campus houses 19 science departments including the world famous crystallography and biophysics department. Over 1,000 students are pursuing PG, MPhil and PhD courses in these departments.
“As part of our research work we carry out collaborative research works at the research laboratories of Anna University. So, the wall is obstructing our access to the research labs as well,” one research scholar noted.
The students also demanded access to the playgrounds of Anna University. “The security guards are not permitting us to play on the grounds. We need access to the grounds which are closer to our university,” another student added.
The decision to separate the two campuses was reportedly taken several years back. Anna University also paid `8 crore as compensation for taking full control of Alagappa College of Technology building. Both, Anna University and Madras University are sharing the cost of `98 lakh for constructing the wall.
“Anna University has agreed to provide a wicket gate near the Theoretical Physics department building. In due course, we will provide basic facilities such as canteen and ATM within our campus,” said P.Duraisamy, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras.
The university is also ready to provide small grounds for playing badminton and volleyball.
“Our Guindy campus does not have a big playground. We will provide a big playground at our Taramani campus for the students,” he said.
Anna University registrar S.Ganesan said the university is always considerate towards Madras University faculty members and students. “We provide access to them in our banks, health centre and canteen as they are from our parent university. They can still avail these facilities,”he said.
When asked about the need for a compound wall, he said, “With additional gates at Madras University's new building on Gandhi Mandapam road, the total number of gates to Anna University has increased to six. It's difficult to deploy manpower at all the gates. To keep our campuses safe and secure, we have mutually agreed to build a compound wall.”
Special grant is needed
The science departments of Madras University which were relocated at Guindy campus are in a need of a special grant to revive their research activities, professors said.
The Guindy campuses house 19 departments from four schools - Earth and Atmospheric Science, Chemical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences.
Along with Taramani campus, these departments playing a major role in getting funds from DST-PURSE, UPE (University with Potential for Excellence), RUSA-Phase-1 schemes through their solid research works.
Following the government order, seven departments - physical Chemistry, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, polymer science, geology and applied geology departments were relocated from AC Tech building to new building.
The university has allotted a special grant of Rs 4 lakhs for each department to set up new labs.
“After the relocation, the science labs are yet to fully commence their research works as the new building is yet to have full-fledged water supply. The new building did not even have internet connection,” professors said. The professors said the amount is not enough and needed a special grant to revive the research activities in the new building.
“The new building was not occupied for almost two years as it lacked basic facilities. After I assumed charge, I have conducted regular review meetings and sorting out all the issues one by one. The new building will soon have all necessary facilities,” Vice-Chancellor P. Duraisamy said.“We are hopeful all the departments will start their research activities soon,” he added....