Published: 03rd December 2021
In another move towards making OU a closed campus, varsity slaps entry fees on walkers and joggers. How are people taking it?
Osmania University in Hyderabad is vast and is frequented by many joggers and walkers, both in the mornings and evenings. This move affects them, but is it bound to affect students too?
All those joggers and walkers who would normally make the most of the expansive and green campus of Osmania University (OU) will now have to pay a price for it. This public institution in Hyderabad has decided to levy an entry fee for utilising facilities such as football grounds, basketball courts and so on as well. While walkers will be charged Rs 200 per month per person, using the various sports grounds will cost Rs 500 per month, applicable since December 1. What's further, Rs 1,000 per month, Rs 2,500 for three months, Rs 5,000 for six months and 10,000 per year, as issued by the Department of Physical Education of the university, are the packages for using the Centre for Fitness and Exercises (gym). While the students of OU can continue to use the facilities by simply showing their ID cards to the security, others will have to purchase the passes.
National Spokesperson of Indian National Congress and Sravan Kumar Dasoju, also a former student of OU, tweeted about the issue stating, "Sheer greedy stupidity & madness of #Osmania University Authorities 2collect such charges from Walkers. Is it private property or a public institution? Wonder if POOR can’t even have free lung space?" Even former IPS officer RS Praveen Kumar, who joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) as its State Coordinator, took to Twitter to say that, "It is very sad that Telangana Government has introduced the entry pass system to all campuses like OU only after we started visiting them to have a deeper understanding of students’ problems and unemployment". This was in reference to his recent visit to the campus to talk about unemployment, support for research scholars and other burning topics.
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Hyderabad District Secretary of the All India Students' Federation (AISF) Naresh Garra welcomes the move of restricting the entry of the outsiders but is not on board with levying an entry fee. He reminds us of the mysterious grave that was spotted near the engineering college hostel which turned out to be that of a dog last month. "This is not a business. Restricting access is good because outsiders do tend to create havoc on the premises, but fees for walking is uncalled for," says the OU research scholar. He also reminds us of the garbage and the mess left behind by those who use the premises but don't bother to clean up after them.
That the administration of the university has plans to make OU a closed campus is no secret. Entry into the campus has been restricted from 6 pm to 6 am, with no RTC buses plying. In fact, the proposal to introduce e-buses which will help students commute on campus, especially from hostels to colleges; proposing alternative routes from Adikmet and Manikeshwar Nagar roads to GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) for RTC buses and the general public when the campus is closed — all these are the recent steps taken to close the multiple exit and entry points to the university.
Another student leader from the university, the State President of the Dalit Minority Student Association (DMSA) Naresh Dudapaka, calls the entry pass system "commercialisation" and adds that, "Many dignitaries and IAS officers visit OU for walks in the same way that they visit to interact. Does this mean that soon, we won't be able to interact with them?"
In the same context, Esram Santhosh Swaero, a Cyber Law student of OU, fears that the library, grounds and other resources of the university which were previously accessible to youth for free with no access to resources, will be restricted too. Calling the move to collect an entry fee "undemocratic" he speaks in a broader sense when he says, "Universities are supposed to be places where discussions and dialogue happen. If this move is to curb protests on campus, that is undemocratic too."
OU's Vice-Chancellor Professor D Ravinder, in a report by The News Minute, stated that the move has been welcomed by many and 150 passes have been sold already.