The Bengal government has proposed a public private partnership (PPP) model for the upcoming St. Xavier’s university but the Xavier’s authorities will “study it in detail” before take a final decision.
The proposal for a state-aided university was handed over to Father Felix Raj, the principal of St. Xavier’s College, at a meeting with higher education minister Bratya Basu on Thursday.
“We had a very fruitful meeting and I am thankful to the government for their openness in dealing with our proposal. The government has suggested a state-aided St. Xavier’s University. We have to study the proposal in detail before we can take a decision,” said Felix Raj.
The university, if St. Xavier’s accepts the proposal, will be the first state-aided private university in the country.
It will, however, not get the minority status that it had requested.
“It will be run by the Jesuits but it will not be a minority university,” clarified Felix Raj.
The university, to come up in Rajarhat Action Area III, will be a separate entity from the St. Xavier’s College of 30 Park Street.
The proposal, submitted by St. Xavier’s in September 2012, stated that it wanted the new entity named St. Xavier’s University and asked for an annual Rs 25-crore grant from the state government, which would, among other things, take care of teacher salaries.
College authorities are not averse to a PPP model, provided the proposal meets the Jesuit standards.
“St. Xavier’s College has UGC nominees, state government nominees and Calcutta University nominees on its board so it is not going to be new for us. But we also don’t want to lose our identity. We will have to see what exactly the partnership entails,” said Felix Raj.
The college authorities hope to send in their suggestions about the government’s proposal in a week’s time.
“If we can come to a situation that is acceptable for both we should be able to start the university in a year’s time,” said Felix Raj.
The Mamata Banerjee government has allotted a 16-acre plot of land in Rajarhat to St. Xavier’s for the university. On December 22, at the college’s Christmas celebrations, the CM had played Santa by handing over a letter formalising the allocation of the plot.
“We want St. Xavier’s to become a university. We want it to grow more and more,” said Mamata, moments after being handed over the first honorary membership card to the alumni association — number 001 — making her a part of the Xaverian family.
Mamata had requested for an alumni membership at the beginning of 2012, when she was at the Park Street address for the convocation and valedictory session.