Admissions to the bachelor’s course at the sole veterinary university in the state have been put on hold.
C.S. Chakrabarti, the vice-chancellor of the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, said: “Admission tests for the bachelor’s course this year were conducted in June and normally classes start from August-end or early September. But this year I am yet to receive intimation from the VCI to go ahead with the admission process.”
The Veterinary Council of India (VCI) is the regulatory body for institutions that teach veterinary science.
The university admits 60 students every year for the five-year degree course. The Belgachhia-based university, one of the two oldest in the country, has long been under the scanner for failing to meet the standards set by the VCI.
In April 2012, The Telegraph had reported the ultimatum issued to the university that if it failed to meet the VCI standards by August 2013, it would be derecognised.
Last year, the main recommendations of the VCI were to raise the standard of the instructional livestock farm and the teaching veterinary clinical complex.
Chakrabarti said: “Since the VCI’s last recommendation, we have hired new staff for both departments. With more time and funds, we will be able to perfect our facilities.”
Since large animals such as cattle are not brought for treatment to the Belgachhia campus, which sits in an urban area, the students are being taken to the university’s Mohonpur premises, around 50km from Calcutta, and other government farms for exposure.
The VCI is happy with the progress. “We understand that a university cannot get a facelift overnight but they have taken positive steps and we are optimistic,” said Ravinder Chaudhary, who chairs the VCI council.
“Last year, the institute’s condition was serious and we had threatened to derecognise it from August 2013 if it did not pull up its socks. Admissions are currently on hold as we are checking their progress,” said Chaudhary. “We have filed a report of our findings to the (Central) department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries and suggested that the institute be given another year. If the department is satisfied we shall issue a letter allowing admission.”
However, the final decision of whether or not the university should be derecognised after August will be taken by the Union government’s department of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries. “But before making a decision, they have the VCI to review the situation. We have suggested that the university be given an extension of one more year to meet the requirements,” Chaudhary added.