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State sticks to stand on JEE seats fill-up

The government on Thursday rejected the appeals of Jadavpur and Bengal Engineering and Science universities for a review of a decision that will lead to bottom-rung students filling up seats at the two premier institutes.

The two universities had requested for a fourth round of centralised counselling open to all candidates on the JEE merit list so they could fill up the 170 seats remaining vacant after three rounds with “quality students”.

Of the 170 vacancies, allegedly resulting from a hitch in the new counselling methods introduced this year, 115 are in JU and 55 in Besu.

“As announced earlier, there will be no more centralised counselling for filling up the vacant engineering seats. The seats will have to be filled up in a decentralised manner by the respective institutes,” Satish Tiwary, the principal secretary in the higher education department, told Metro on Thursday.

This, read with a government circular issued on July 31, would mean that only those who had failed to get a berth in any of the 95 engineering colleges in the state in the three rounds of counselling could be taken in.

The July 31 directive says: “The institutes shall ensure that every candidate applying for taking admission in such vacant seats shall submit an undertaking stating that his/her candidature shall be cancelled if it is found that he/she has already reported (physically) at the finally allotted institute allotted to the candidate through the e-counselling process.”

A higher education department official said students who had already taken admission had been made ineligible for the 12,000-odd vacant seats to prevent chaos.

“Nearly 20,000 students have taken admission to various colleges. If several of them start moving from one institute to another, it will lead to a chaos and academic activities will suffer,” the official said.

Tiwary said a meeting would be held with JU and Besu officials on Monday to hear their views on the government’s stand.

A JU teacher had earlier told Metro that the university would have preferred to fill up the 115 seats with bright students who had already taken admission in other institutes.

“If merit is the sole criterion, we hope to attract students who have already secured admission elsewhere but would want to study in our institution. On the other hand, if we are forced to follow the government directive, we will have to admit low-ranked students and compromise our standards,” the teacher had said.

Of the 32,000-odd seats in the first-year class at the 95 engineering colleges, around 12,000 are vacant after the three rounds of counselling.

Among the 115 vacant seats at JU, 11 are in the computer science department, 10 in the mechanical engineering department and 13 and six seats in the civil engineering and information technology departments.

In the previous years, students within the rank of 160 on the JEE merit list would fill up the 62 seats in computer science and engineering department at the university. “If we follow the government directive, students at the tail end of the list may get to fill up some of the vacant seats in computer science, one of our best departments,” said a JU teacher.

At Besu, the last candidate for the 60 seats in electrical engineering had always ranked till 700 on the JEE list. This year, the Shibpur university may have to fill up some of the seats with students ranking 1 lakh or even lower.

“Our academic standard will take a hit if such students gain admission to our institute,” said a Besu teacher.

Of the 55 vacant seats at Besu, seven are in the electrical engineering, 12 in the information technology, seven in the mechanical engineering and eight in the computer science departments.