Aligarh: Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University Lt Gen (rtd) Zameer Uddin Shah on Wednesday said he will approach the Centre for a special grant of Rs 20 crore to expand the facilities at Maulana Azad Central library so that 28,000 students are provided access to it.
Referring to the recent row surrounding his reported comments about the access of undergraduate girls to the varsity library, the VC said,"When the library was established in 1958, there were 7,000 students. The library was open to all postgraduate and research students including boys and girls.
"Today, there are over 28,000 students. Facilities are the same. In these circumstances, the proposal for opening the library for undergraduate girls appears impractical. There is no issue of gender discrimination," he said.
"Once we have expanded our facilities at the central library, I will seek the permission of parents of all the undergraduate girls for allowing them to visit the main campus after classes are over.
"If they agree to the proposal, then I will have no hesitation in making the library accessible to these girls also. Already there are 2,700 girls who are full-fledged members. Each day hundreds of girls visit the library," Shah said.
"As far as security and transport facilities are needed for this exercise, we have sanctioned 10 buses for undergraduate girls to enable them to enjoy these facilities at the main campus," he added.
"It is strange that girls at Miranda House in New Delhi and some top women's colleges in Mumbai and other parts of the country are not permitted access to their university's central library during off office hours.
"But when AMU has such an arrangement in place, there is a national outcry. Why this selective treatment," the V-C questioned.
Referring to the row over the alleged ban on an English daily at AMU campus, the VC told PTI that "misunderstandings" have been cleared.