Islamabad: The dispute between Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and Comsats University over a hostel building has not been resolved even after 11 years due to which the students are suffering a lot, it has been learnt.
Besides, the university has not paid the rent of the 48-room hostel at the Islamabad Model College, H-9, for the last two years.
According to documents available with Dawn, the FDE has been trying to get the possession of the hostel being used by Comsats University.
An official of the FDE on the condition of anonymity said that in the year 2000, when Zubaida Jalal was the federal minister for education, the 48-room hostel building of Islamabad Model College (then called Federal Government Degree College for Boys) was handed over to the Comsats University under political pressure.
The official said it was initially decided that Rs12,000 yearly rent would be paid by Comsats University to the management of H-9 College for the 48 rooms. In 2004, however, the university did not pay the rent due to which the college management raised the matter with it. Later in that year, however, the university paid Rs48,000.
"After that the management of the college and some officials of the FDE and the Ministry of Education tried to get the building vacated. As a result, the university paid Rs5.6 million to the college in 2010 and it was decided that in future the rent would be charged at the market rate. The college management purchased a bus from that amount," he said.
A professor of the H-9 College, requesting not to be named, added: "In 2011, we requested the Public Works Department (PWD) to evaluate the amount of rent of the hostel.
According to PWD's estimate, 27,653 square-foot covered area of the ground floor and 14,823 square-foot covered area of the first floor (total 42,476 square feet) was in the possession of Comsats University. The PWD suggested Rs424,760 monthly rent of the building – at the rate of Rs10 per square foot according to its location and current market
He said after getting the estimate from the PWD, one-and-a-half years have passed but the university has not paid a single rupee. On the other hand, students of the college are suffering due to the lack of hostel.
The professor said there are cubicles and rooms in the hostel in which three to five students can be accommodated in each room. The students of Comsats University have been living in the rooms for the last many years and they must be paying heavy amount to the university, he added.
Mohammad Ali, a student of the college, said: "I have been living in a flat at Sector G-9 just because the college management has rented out the hostel to the university. I cannot understand why such a step was taken because most of the students want to stay in the college hostel as it will reduce their transportation costs and provide them better environment."
The principal of the college, Azhar Bhatti, when contacted, said they had sent many letters to the Comsats University for the vacation of the building but got no reply. "I also tried to hold a meeting with the management of the university but they even did not reply," he said.
Director General FDE Atif Kiyani said he had instructed the relevant department to take the university on board and get the building vacated. "If they want to retain the rooms they should pay the rent according to the market rate." He added that the matter would be resolved soon.
When contacted, Asad Zia, an assistant registrar (media) at the Comsats University, said: "The management is well aware of the issue and wants to resolve it amicably. Letters from the college management and the FDE have been received and a positive reply will be given soon." Dawn.