On the eve of its 16 foundation day, the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (Manuu) has gone hitech with the entire campus becoming Wi-Fi-enabled. It is one of the few central varsities to install a secured data network at its premises.
However, the huge expenditure involved – about Rs. 7 crore – is raising eyebrows in many quarters. While the amount was spent for providing connectivity to a 200-acre campus, the University of Hyderabad (UoH) had spent a similar sum for its 2,000-acre campus. Moreover, the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which executed the project, took more than a year to install Wi-Fi, faculty members claimed on condition of anonymity.
The purchase order was issued by Manuu on January 23, 2013 and NIC was supposed to complete the project within 90 days from the date of receipt of the order. But it is only recently that the Wi-Fi installation was completed, they allege. However, Abdul Wahid, who heads Manuu’s IT cell, said the expenditure incurred by the university was as per the rate quoted by NIC, a government agency.
“Moreover, MANUU has gone for WiFi-Wimax technology, which is advanced and connects building to building. The UoH doesn’t have this kind of technology,” Dr. Wahid explained.
While admitting the inordinate delay in completion of the project, he claimed Manuu had levied penalty on the NIC for not sticking to the deadline.
With Wi-Fi in place, Manuu has issued guidelines for staff and students on the use of internet. As per the new internet policy, one has to sign a declaration form before January 10 to obtain the username and password.
The guidelines, which contain a long list of ‘illegal activities’, have apparently irked many of the staff. “There is no privacy now in the use of computers, including email,” a professor said. To this, Dr. Wahid said it was the university’s prerogative to monitor internet activity. “The facility is for enhancing teaching skills and knowledge. But the university reserves the right to monitor all computer and internet activity.”