RGU encroachment issue still mired in confusion

[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, Aug 13: The inordinate delay on the part of the Papum Pare district administration in taking action against those involved in encroaching on land belonging to Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) has irked the citizens of the state.
As per documents accessed by this daily, former Papum Pare DC, Dr Joram Beda, had issued an order in November 2018, directing the Doimukh SDO to evict the illegal encroachers as per the provisions of the Arunachal Pradesh Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 2003, within one month. However, the eviction is yet to be carried out.
After media reports on land encroachment at RGU had come to the forefront in June 2018, Governor BD Mishra had taken serious note of it and initiated a discussion with members of the Nyishi Elite Society (NES) in this regard, seeking its intervention. The governor had also taken up the matter with the RGU authorities.
A team comprising executive members of the NES’ Papum Pare unit was constituted to look into the encroachment issue. The team, headed by Techi Tukap, visited RGU and held deliberations with the RGU authorities, and with the encroachers.
Following the intervention, five major areas of encroachment were identified in the campus. The NES team also listened to the opinions of the alleged encroachers and the people who had donated land for RGU.
Based on the report submitted by the NES’ district unit, a firsthand information report was submitted to the governor on 9 November, 2018. The NES in its report alleged that the university’s former vice chancellor, registrar, estate officer and engineering wing had been ineffective, “which encouraged people to indulge in encroaching on the university land.”
The report also raised the possibility of connivance between RGU employees and land department officials to distort the map of the university.
After a gap of almost nine months, the Doimukh SDO finally issued an order to conduct verification on 20 August at one of the areas which has been identified as encroached land. However, the remaining cases are yet to be taken up, even though the former DC had issued the order asking the SDO to act on all encroachment issues.
Further, it has been determined that most of the encroachers are staffers of the university itself, which has hurt the sentiment of those who donated the land.
“An area of 302 acres was donated for development of the university on 26 January, 1985. Not a single land donor is involved in encroaching on the university land. We vehemently condemn the encroachers and ask them to voluntarily surrender the encroached land to the university. RGU is an institution for the future, and such encroachment is detrimental to its growth,” the land donors told the Papum Pare NES team.
Speaking to this daily, RGU Vice Chancellor Prof Saket Kushwaha said the land encroachment issue is being given “utmost importance” by the university authorities and the university is seeking the state government’s help in resolving the issue at the earliest.
“At present we also don’t know the exact area of land given to RGU by the state government in 1985. The original map has not been able to be traced. But the barbed wire fencing constructed by the state government at the time of establishing the university has given a fair idea about the boundary,” Prof Kushwaha said.
He said a fresh survey, using the latest technology, was conducted in March this year by the land department to map the university’s land. “They took almost a month to complete the mapping. We are still awaiting the new map, and once we get it, things will be much clearer,” said the VC.
He informed that a map had been prepared in 2010 after some locals had alleged that RGU had taken more land than the actual donated area. However, the VC made it clear that RGU did not accept the new map, saying that “it is a distorted one.”
Regarding the allegation of involvement of RGU employees in the encroachment, the VC said “it is a matter of investigation” and he would not like to comment on it. He, however, appealed to all the stakeholders to support RGU and help in developing it as one of the best universities of the country.
Meanwhile, RGU Registrar Prof Tomo Riba informed that so far 10 kms of boundary wall work has been completed in the campus.