Visva-Bharati University (via The New Indian Express), Amartya Sen (via TOI)

Amartya Sen denies the allegations

Nobel Laureate and prominent Economist Amartya Sen’s name has come up in the list of illegal land holders in Visva-Bharati University. According to TOI report, the varsity has written a letter to the West Bengal Government alleging that dozens of its plots belonging to it have wrongly recorded in the name of private parties. A list of such ‘illegal land holders’ prepared by the Viswa-Bharati University includes the name of Amartya Sen.

The lands wrongly recorded in the name of unapproved tenants include the Girls’ hostel, academic department, office, even the Vice-Chancellor’s official bungalow. The University alleges that due to wrong recording of ownership in the Government’s record-of-right (RoR), the varsity’s land has illegally transferred and private parties has set up restaurants, schools and other businesses on land procured by Rabindranath Tagore himself.

On Amartya Sen’s case, the letter states that he is illegally occupying 13 decimals of land in addition to 125 decimals legally leased to his late father by Viswa-Bharati.

However, Mr. Sen has denied the allegations. Responding to the letter, economist Amartya Sen told TOI that the University land on which his house is situated is on a long term issue. “I see from the report that Vice-Chancellor Bidyut Chakraborty of Viswa-Bharati is busy arranging the eviction of unauthorized occupation of leased land in the campus and that I have also been named in the list of occupants”

He added “The Viswa-Baharti land on which our house is situated is a long term lease, which is nowhere near its expiry, but the Vice-Chancellor can always dream about evicting anyone he wants”

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“Having been born and brought up in Santiniketan, I could comment on the big gap between Santiniketan culture and that of the VC, empowered as he is by the Central Government in Delhi, with its growing control over Bengal. I would prefer to use Indian laws as they exist. For mental strength, I may clutch the beautiful old picture of our home by Abanindranath Tagore, among others. ” Prof. Sen also said in his email “the VC would be spread the necessity of inventing completely imagined conversations with me, beginning impossibly with my introducing myself as Bharat-Ratna-something that no one has ever heard me do. The VC, of course, is an invented artist as well”

Reportedly, as per the University’s estate office, the erroneous records were prepared in the 1980s and 1990s. A large part of the land, which was procured by Rabindranath Tagore for the Varsity, is located in the Purbapalli area of Santiniketan which is residential hub of eminent persons and the families associated with the Ashrama School and Visva-Bharati during their inception. The documents available with the University reveal the extent of encroachment on the Viswa-Bharati land in 1990s. The documents were also sent to the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

According to TOI report, Prof. Sen in 2006 wrote to the then VC for transfer of the 99-year-old-lease-hold land to his name and this was done after a decision was taken by the Executive Council but the excess land was not returned to the University.

A confidential internal, issued to various offices by the estate office of Viswa-Bharati in July 2020, states that the Varsity ahs taken up the matter of correction of ownership record of 77 plots of land, TOI reported.

The report states that the high profile people illegally occupied the leased land in Purvapalli, Dakshinapalli and Sripalli area will be evicted.

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Tags : Amartya SenAmartya Sen 13 decimals landAmartya Sen illegally hold land in Viswa BharatiRabindranath TagoreRabindranath ThakurSantiniketanVC Bidyut ChakrabortyVisva-Bharati UniversityViswa-Bharati University

The author Kunal

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