Veterinary varsity order leaves joggers wrong-footed

No free walk

A recent notice by authorities of Karnataka Veterinary Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (KVAFSU) to outsiders on the use of its campus at Hebbal has irked joggers around the area. 

According to the notice that was put up around five days ago, outsiders who want to use the premises will need to apply for an identity card and pay a monthly fee of Rs 150 from April onwards.

This notice has particularly angered people like Madhava Kotian, 78, who have been coming here for many years now. “More than 200 people come here every morning. I have been coming here for the past 35 years and this diktat is not only insensitive but also uncalled for,” he said. 

Kotian, an advocate and a resident of Anandnagar, Hebbal, has been coordinating with fellow joggers to try and get this order withdrawn.

Kotian and other joggers have formed an association of joggers to intensify their efforts. As the convener of the association, he has even sent letters to the vice-chancellor of the university, the governor and the chief minister highlighting their concern. “I have got the signatures of nearly 250 joggers and we will be taking our struggle further,” said Kotian.

The sprawling campus of KVAFSU at Hebbal has a number of its institutes like the Veterinary College, Veterinary College Hospital, Dairy Science College and Fisheries Research and Information Centre and attracts a number of people from outside.

“It is a Central university run by public funds and therefore any citizen is free to use the campus. Besides, there is also a post office, a Bescom office and other centres that people will need to go to,” Kotian said. 

Former Lieutenant Colonel KRV Rao,73, has been going to the campus for the last 30 years.

“The campus is the only place in the area where you can get some fresh air and atmosphere free of congestion. I cross four traffic-ridden roads to get to the campus and now, if I have to pay Rs 150 even for some fresh air, it just does not seem right,” he said.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Vice-Chancellor Dr Renuka Prasad said the measure is mainly for security reasons and is not in any way meant to disrupt the routine of the joggers. “We want to identify who exactly is coming in so as to avoid any outward incident happening inside the campus.

Moreover, following the UGC guidelines we want to make the campus safe for girls. A repeat of the incident at Bangalore University should not happen here,” said the VC.
The joggers, according to Kotian, have no problem with the issuing of identity cards at nominal rates on a one-time basis.

“We also realise that there is the danger of theft as well as lumpen elements coming in and creating problems. However, the monthly payment and IDs is not the solution. On the contrary it will lead to bureaucratic hurdles which will dissuade people like us”, said Kotian.

The VC further highlighted the fact that he has personally seen unauthorised people coming in and disturbing students and their activities on the field. “No doubt the university is a public place but ensuring that the activities of and within the university is our first priority,” said Dr Prasad.

The fee being levied will go towards beefing up the security at many places around the campus, according to the VC. “Money is however not the issue and whoever has any problems can approach the authorities at the campus and get it sorted out. We do not want any kind of a problem coming out of this notice,” Dr Prasad added.

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