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Private varsity bill

Calcutta, May 12: The Bengal government is planning to introduce a bill that will allow private universities to set up units in the state, higher education minister Bratya Basu said today.

“We are going to introduce the Private University Bill to set up more universities in the state. These universities will offer degree programmes. The government will ensure that quality is maintained in these institutions,” Basu said at an event also attended by members of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce.

The minister said the higher education department was working on the bill and it would take some time to introduce it.

The state now has private engineering, management and medical colleges but no private institution that offers general degree courses. “These institutes offering professional courses had come up during Left rule. But as they are not regulated, they charge huge admission fees from students. We will not let this happen when we introduce the bill,” Basu told The Telegraph.

“The higher education department is consulting experts to draw up a fool-proof bill,” he added.

The Trinamul government is keen on public-private partnership in the education and health sectors.

The Left Front government had sought to introduce the Private University Bill in 2006 to pave the way for setting up a private varsity to be named after industrialist Dhirubhai Ambani.

After the seventh Left Front government came to power, the higher education department had prepared the draft bill. Land in North 24-Parganas’ Haringhata had been identified for acquisition for the institute. But the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee-led government shelved the plan after the anti-land acquisition movement erupted. There was also a debate within the Left Front over establishing a private university.