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Tech varsity lens on college land records

The state tech university intends to scrutinise the land records of all colleges under it to ensure that no institution loses its All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) accreditation because of land irregularities.

Kingston Engineering College in Barasat, which had been affiliated to the West Bengal University of Technology (WBUT), had lost AICTE approval because of land-related irregularities.

The tech university recently sent a circular to the principals of all colleges under it, asking for their land-related documents for urgent scrutiny, vice-chancellor Sabyasachi Sengupta told Metro.

The inspector of colleges of the university has asked each college to send its land deed, land use certificate, land conversion certificate, mutation certificate and receipt of tax clearance certificate.

“Once the documents reach the university, we’ll get them verified by the land and land revenue department,” Sengupta said.

AICTE, the apex body for regulating engineering education in the country, withdrew the approval of the Barasat college in July. In August, WBUT had to readmit the 250 students of the college in three other colleges.

“We have asked the college authorities to send all related documents at the earliest. We don’t want any recurrence of the Kingston incident,” said the vice-chancellor.

The university has also sought each institute’s building plan. “We want to check the plans to find out whether there are any violations, as happened recently at the BC Roy Medical College in Haldia. The future of the students at the Haldia college is in the balance,” Sengupta said.

“The Barasat college was built on agricultural land without converting it for such use. Since the land and land revenue department has the expertise to verify whether the plots have been legally converted, we are seeking its help,” the vice-chancellor added.

Kingston Engineering College had come under the AICTE scanner last year when the council begun surveying colleges across the country to find out whether they had any land-related irregularities.

After a detailed survey, AICTE withdrew accreditations of four colleges in the country, including the Barasat institution. Questions have been raised as to why the tech university, which had inspected Kingston Engineering College along with AICTE officials in 2009 before giving affiliation, could not detect the land anomalies.

“Generally, during inspection, we check whether a college has the necessary infrastructure, such as laboratories and classrooms. It hadn’t struck us then that there could be a problem regarding land conversion,” Sengupta admitted.

Kingston Engineering College has moved the Supreme Court, challenging AICTE’s decision. “The college was not built on agricultural land, as is being alleged,” said college spokesperson Uma Bhattacharya.

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