Kolkata, Oct 11 (PTI) More than a month after protests and vandalism by a mob over the fencing around the Poush Mela ground at Santiniketan, Visva-Bharati authorities have invited bids to outsource security for its campus with an estimated contract worth Rs 7 crore.
A recent notice issued by the central university said the move was necessitated for protecting valuable artefacts, paintings kept in some buildings with heritage status.
Bidders are required to have an average annual gross turnover of Rs 20 crore with at least three contracts of not less than Rs 1 crore each per annum in the last five years.
'The move assumes significance in the wake of the repeated assertions of the authorities to guard its boundary to stop the encroachment of the central university's land.
'We have witnessed opposition to the fencing around the Poush Mela ground by a section of local people. Armed guards had been in charge of security for long,' a senior faculty member said Sunday.
Once the agency is hired, around 270 security personnel will be deployed every day on the campus, the university said in the notice.
The security agency will have to carry out patrolling, control movement of outsiders on the campus and prevent the use of tobacco, consumption of alcohol and indecent activities.
'Once the entire process is completed and the agency selected, the guards could be deployed by November this year,' the official said.
The move, however, came under flak by old students like Manisha Bandyopadhyay and Ranjana Dutta who have their ancestral homes in Santiniketan.
'Instead of employing more armed guards to block entry of people, the amount of Rs 7 crore should be spent for building better academic infrastructure on the campus,' Dutta said.
Meanwhile, the university authorities have started fencing work last month after the Calcutta High Court- appointed committee gave the go-ahead to the institute in this regard. PTI SUS BDC BDC