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Private varsity bill passed

The Techno India University Bill 2012 was passed in the Assembly on Friday, paving the way for the first private university in Bengal under state legislation.

Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, the first private university in the state, was set up under a central legislation as the previous Left Front government was against private universities.

The Left MLAs did not participate in the discussion on the bill in the Assembly on Friday.

Techno India plans to invest Rs 10,000 crore to set up the university, which will have campuses at Joka and Salt Lake, group chairman Goutam Roy Choudhury told Metro.

The university would initially offer undergraduate courses in science, technology and management and later in social sciences, medicine and law, he added.

According to higher education minister Bratya Basu, the university would help Bengal overcome the shortage of undergraduate seats.

“This year, the difference between the number of students who cleared the Class XII board exams and seats in colleges was 50,000. Those who cannot enrol in colleges face an uncertain future. Private universities would help us deal with this problem. After three-four years, the problem will not be there,” said Basu.

The minister also spoke about the employment opportunities private universities will generate. He promised monitoring by the government to allay fears of irregularities expressed by MLAs from the Congress and SUCI. “The council or the controlling authority that is set up would have to get the decisions ratified by the state government. They have to listen to the government. This would help in preventing irregularities.”

The secretary of the higher education department or a nominee of the secretary will be a member of the board of governors of the university. The bill has provisions that make it mandatory for university authorities to submit reports, returns, statements and information to the state government, the University Grants Commission and other statutory authorities as and when they are asked to do so.

The Techno India Trust, which will run the university, has been operating 15 engineering colleges, 10 business schools and 10 public schools. The managing trustee will be the chancellor of the university and head its board of governors.

The campuses would come up at Sector III and V in Salt Lake and Joka. The bill allows the authorities to set up branches in other parts of the country and abroad in addition to the main campus in Bengal.

A senior official in the education department said the government was considering other proposals to set up private universities.

“The proposals will be cleared only after a thorough scrutiny,” he said.

The previous government, headed by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, had passed the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology Bill 2008 allowing the Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Trust to set up the institute on a 60-acre plot in North 24-Pargana’s Haringhata by investing Rs 150 crore.

The bill was later shelved following agitations over land acquisition elsewhere in the state and differences within the Left Front over allowing private universities.