The proposal of Swami Vivekananda statue has served to aggravate the tension between the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and its administration.
The JNU administration has reportedly proposed to install a ‘life-sized’ statue of Swami Vivekananda in the campus. However, students and teachers of JNU have criticised the proposal and alleged that the administration’s decision is intended to divert funds for the statue instead of developing a library at the campus.
The approval for the construction of the statue was given by JNU’s Executive Council in June last year which was followed by the setting-up of a committee to oversee the project. According to the reports, the foundation stone for the statue was recently laid at the campus.
On this issue, JNUSU president N Sai Balaji said, “The university says it does not have money to fund library and disburse merit-cum-means scholarship to students. However, it is busy constructing statues.”
The students have alleged that the administration has cut funds for the library from Rs 8 crores to Rs 1.7 crores.
To this, JNU’s Financial Officer, Heeraman Tiwari, dismissed the allegations and said, “In 2012, the University Grant Commission released a bulk grant under the 12th five-year plan for the library. This was in addition to regular budget. This additional fund allowed the university to allocate around Rs 8 crore every year for the library until 2017. In 2018, since the additional funding has ended, the library budget is back to the original Rs 1.70 crore.”
Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) have filed an RTI requesting the JNU administration to disclose the source of funds for the statue. And it was alleged that the administration had not replied to their queries so far.
However, on Monday, JNU administration released a press note, declaring the source of funding. According to the administration, a University alumnus had volunteered to fund the construction of the statue in the campus.