Two years on, Mumbai University’s plan to start Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Research Centre for Social Justice continues to remain on paper.
It was announced on April 11, 2020 – birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar — and a cornerstone was put up on December 6, 2020 which is his death anniversary. Work on the project has not begun on the allotted land in varsity’s Kalina campus.
After the announcement of the ambitious project, which is expected to provide a platform for in-depth research in social sciences and social justice along with a budgetary allocation of Rs 1 crore for the same, there is no further development on the initiative.
While the varsity is now criticised for the delay, students’ activists are also questioning the varsity’s agenda for making announcements on important dates and not acting on it after.
“Mumbai University is an educational institution and it is unbelievable that it is acting like a political body. Birth and death anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar are important dates and varsity garnered much publicity by announcing the project on one and putting up a cornerstone on the other day. The administration also issued a press release for the same. But it seems to have forgotten about the project completely after making the publicity. It certainly should not take two years to begin work on the said research centre,” said Rohit Dhale, from the Chatrabharati Vidyarthi Sanghatna (students’ organisation).
He added that it is worth questioning varsity’s intention behind the project after seeing no development on the land post cornerstone event, even as a huge budgetary allocation is already made.
The Mumbai University, however, does not have any explanation for the delay.
When contacted by the administration, officials from the varsity said, “The planning and works committee at the varsity has approved the appointment of architecture for development of the centre on allotted land. Accordingly, the tender process will begin now.”