March 19, 2020
Hyderabad: In an unexpected, surprising move the Telangana State government has decided to take over Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) campus ostensibly to accommodate suspected coronavirus victims.
According to officials sources the Deputy Collector and Tehsildar of Serlingampall Mandal have authorized the takeover of MANUU campus in Gachibowli.
The state government, it is reported, has directed the Health Department to identify and develop a quarantine building which may require some appropriate modifications. During the meeting with the Chief Secretary of the Telangana State, the District Collector — Ranga Reddy District, it is said, identified a building on the university premises.
The government move created a ruckus among the resident student community as well as over 300 staff who live with their wives and children on the campus in quarters.
Sources said that the Acting Vice Chancellor and the registrar of the university have visited the State government secretariat to plead their case. They are of the view that the campus cannot be used as isolation centre since there are students and staff living there for several years.
They also said that the campus is spread over 200 acres while there are other government buildings in the vicinity with larger campuses and less number of people living there. For instance, one of the staff member said, University of Hyderabad is spread over 1,600 acre which is several times greater than the MANUU campus. It is also sparsely populated compared to the MANUU.
The government sources said that MANUU is specifically allocated for travelers from COVIID-19 affected-countries and suspected to be afflicted with the virus.
On the condition of anonymity, a high-ranking source at MANUU said, “While we have received the orders from the government to allocate a certain building for international travelers, we have not yet conceded to making any one of our buildings available.”
Panic has set in among the staff and students. Commerce scholar and former MANUU- Students’ Union President Attaullah Niazi stated that “An ultimatum came from the Acting Vice Chancellor to vacate the campus by the 20th of March. That means we should leave this place within the next two days.”
A source privy to the meeting with the state and district officers elaborated upon the determination of the powers that be. He mentioned that regardless of whether the university agrees to concede a building or not, the official made it known that way or another the authorities will house international travelers suspected of being infected in MANUU.
Another concerned staff member complained, “Of course there are students who cannot go home after vacating hostels. However, if many prospective COVID-19 infectees quarantined on campus, what about the teaching and administrative personnel who live on the campus and left vulnerable to the virus?”
While negotiations with the government are still underway, protests against the government’s move are taking shape.
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