Bengal Engineering and Science University will finally be an Institute of National Importance, with the Union cabinet on Tuesday approving a long-pending proposal for the upgrade of the Shibpur institute.
Once the upgrade is formalised through an enactment in Parliament, the 150-year-old institute will be christened Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IIEST).
“The cabinet today approved the proposal for the upgrade, which will be implemented through an amendment to the National Institute of Technology Act,” said a source in the human resource development ministry.
Post-upgrade, the institute will offer dual-degree programmes in integrated MTech, MSc and PhD. Students will be admitted through the All India Engineering Entrance Examination and half the seats will be reserved for candidates from the state.
The organisational and governing structures of the institute will be on the lines mandated by the NIT Act.
The upgrade will earn the university Rs 592.20 crore in five years. Of this, Rs 300.3 crore will be for capital expenditure and the rest for recurring expenditure.
The news lifted the mood on the Shibpur campus, which till recently was racked with controversies and fatal campus violence.
“The cabinet approval has come at a crucial juncture for the institute,” said vice-chancellor Ajoy Roy.
“We, the faculty and staff at Besu, pledge to turn the new IIEST into an institute of academic excellence in diverse areas of science and technology,” he added. “We are thankful to Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, human resource development minister Kapil Sibal, state higher education minister Sudarshan Raychaudhuri and chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for taking the initiative to upgrade the institute.”
The Anandakrishnan Committee had in 2005 first mooted the proposal to upgrade Besu and seven other institutes.
But the proposal in regard to Besu was shelved following persistent campus violence that led to the death of a student. Arjun Singh as HRD minister had shot off a letter to then governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who was also chancellor of Besu, that the proposed upgrade had been put off because of the violence.
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