The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Engineering seats slashed by over 1400

Calcutta, June 7: Over a thousand students, who were probably thanking their stars yesterday after making it to the tail-end of the joint entrance merit list, may find it difficult to bag a berth in engineering colleges.

Out of 38,101 seats slashed by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) yesterday in engineering, MBA, MCA and pharmacy courses across the country, 1,438 are in Bengal.

The council, the apex body that regulates these courses, found 18 out of the 52 engineering, technology and management institutions in Bengal not conforming to norms, particularly in terms of having enough capable teachers.

Among the 18 institutions are some of the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government's star institutions like Jadavpur University, the West Bengal University of Technology ' which also gives affiliation to private engineering colleges ' and Calcutta University.

The remaining 15 are private colleges.

Caught unawares by the sudden decision, embarrassed authorities of the Joint Entrance Examination board hurriedly called an emergency meeting on Sunday.

The board yesterday published a list of 18,000 successful candidates for approximately 13,000 engineering seats in the 52 institutions across Bengal.

In the revised scheme, the council has approved intake of 1,337 students in Jadavpur this year against 1,349 in 2004.

The two departments, out of 30 in the varsity, facing the seat-slash are printing engineering and soil mechanics.

Among the other institutions that have left the government red-faced is the Government College of Engineering and Leather Technology, also in Calcutta. Eighty seats ' 40 in IT and computer science and engineering wings ' have been scrapped there.

In West Bengal University of Technology, which conducts its own classes in Calcutta, 42 out of 60 existing seats in computer science and engineering and 18 out of 20 seats in bio-technology have been slashed.

The number of seats in IT, one of the most popular engineering streams now, has been reduced to zero in a private college in Durgapur.

'The colleges got repeated reminders from the council over the past two years. They were asked to ensure that the norms, particularly those relating to the number of teachers, their academic credentials and teaching experience, were fulfilled,' a senior higher education department official said.

The council announced the state-wise figures on the seats reduced on its official website today. Most institutions in Bengal came to know about their new seat-strengths through it.

'We are worried and are trying to contact the council officials in Delhi to get the details,' said Samir Bandyopadhyay, the West Bengal University of Technology registrar.

Subir Chakraborty, Jadavpur University's acting registrar, expressed 'surprise' at the decision to reduce seats in printing engineering.

However, some colleges stood the test well. The council has recommended addition of seats in such institutions. Bengal Engineering College, now a university, can take students for two new courses ' transportation and water resource engineering. At Kalyani Government Engineering College, the number of seats has been raised from 256 to 336.

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