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‘World-class’ private varsities eye state

- Shortage of students across streams no deterrent for institutes vying for foothold

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 19: A large number of educational institutes want to expand their campuses in the state with promises to provide ‘world class education’ despite shortage of students across all streams.

At present, 28 applications (see chart) for setting up private universities are with the state’s higher education department.

While bills for the Sri Sri University, Icfai University and Centurion University of Technology and Management have already been cleared, others are awaiting approval by the state government.

The bill for the much-awaited Xavier University is expected to be cleared during the next Assembly session while a proposal of the Manipal Education group to set up the Manipal University in Odisha with an investment of Rs 200 crore has already received a nod from chief minister Naveen Patnaik. The bill is expected to be introduced in the state legislature soon.

The proposed Manipal University, with a student strength of 10,000, will run courses in engineering, management, hospitality, law, paramedics, pharmacy, education technology, media and journalism, planning and architecture and medicine. The proposed university will come up on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar on 70 acres. However, not all the universities whose bills have been passed have commenced as promised. While the Sri Sri University and the Centurion University of Technology & Management have started operating, the Icfai University has remained a non-starter.

Although the government passed the Icfai bill in Assembly in 2010, work is yet to begin. The Rs 150-crore university intends to provide higher education to 1,500 students in disciplines such as engineering, management, law, science and humanities. About 30 acres has been identified between Khurda and Bhubaneswar for the proposed campus.

Also, the Vedanta University bill, cleared by the Assembly in 2009, is awaiting the governor’s consent. The university has run into problems over land acquisition.

“In majority of cases, the proposals and the land are being examined and checked to see if all guidelines are being followed. Few others have not got back after submitting their applications,” a senior official of the department said.

“For example, officials who had submitted the Chicago University satellite campus proposal at Utkal University have not responded to our queries,” he added.

Higher education secretary Gagan Dhal said an expert committee would examine the pending proposals to set up private universities and make specific recommendations.