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Help for OBC quota

The heads of many colleges and a few universities have requested the higher education department to improve campus infrastructure at the earliest so that the other backward class (OBC) reservation could be introduced from the upcoming academic session.

The request was made at a meeting between college and university heads and department officials at Calcutta University on Friday.

Vivek Kumar, the principal secretary of the higher education department, and other officials assured the representatives of the educational institutions of all help.

The government has announced that the OBC reservation of 17 per cent would have to be introduced without curtailing the number of seats for general category students.

Now, 22 per cent seats in higher education are reserved for SC students, 6 per cent for ST students and three per cent for the physically challenged. The remaining 69 per cent are for general category students.

“The seat count has to be increased by 32 per cent if we are to introduce the OBC quota keeping the number of berths for general category students intact. How can we increase the number of seats when there is no space to accommodate more students?” asked the principal of a central Calcutta college.

Several colleges are crippled by space crunch, lack of teachers, insufficient classrooms and inadequate laboratory and library facilities.

The state higher educational institutions (reservation in admission) bill, which calls for setting aside 17 per cent seats for OBC students from the 2014-15 academic session, received the governor’s consent last March. The gazette notification of the act was issued in January.

The act gives all institutions of higher learning six years to upgrade their infrastructure for taking in additional students. “The seat count has to be increased in phases over six years. We have asked the colleges to submit detailed project reports, entailing the kind of support they would require,” said an official.