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College mired in name game

Uncertainty dogs the conversion of Shibpur’s 147-year-old Bengal Engineering College, presently a deemed university, into a full-fledged university by passing a bill in the ongoing Assembly session.

Two weeks have passed since the monsoon session began. The government is yet to decide on a new name for the institution, once it is converted into a full-fledged university. According to Assembly sources, this delay has jeopardised the placing of the bill in the House.

Officials in the state higher education department say the government is in a dither over the new name under pressure from two strong lobbies, each of which has a proposal on what the new name should be. A CPM lobby in Howrah has demanded that the word ‘Shibpur’ — the location of the institution — be included in the name. On the other hand, prominent teachers’ lobbies in the college, as well as a good number of alumni, have urged the government to retain the word ‘engineering’ in the name.

“The process of preparing the provisions for converting the institution are ready. The new name is under consideration and we hope to arrive at a decision soon, so that the bill can be tabled in this session itself,” said P.K. Ganguly, state director of public instruction.

Sources explained that if the institution was to be accorded the status of a full-fledged university, the words ‘deemed’ and ‘engineering’ will have to be deleted from its name for technical reasons. This is because the deemed university offers under-graduate and post graduate courses mainly in engineering and technology. But it will have to offer courses in other faculties, too, like science and humanities, when it becomes a full-fledged university. “Under the circumstances, it would be technically wrong for the government to include ‘engineering’ in the new name,” said a state higher education department official.

The teachers’ lobbies prefer to differ. “The institution was set up to impart quality education in engineering and technology. It is known as a premier institution in engineering education in India as well as in foreign countries. We will not allow the government to delete the word ‘engineering’ from its name,” said a teacher of the institution.

Sources in the education department, however, say the government has given its nod to the local CPM lobby’s demand to include ‘Shibpur’ in the name. It has cited the example of Jadavpur University to have the location of the institution as part of its name.

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