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Bratya pleads for IIEST reservation

Teachers and students rejoice following the renaming of Besu to Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology

Education minister Bratya Basu has requested the Centre to set aside half the seats at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology — the upgraded avatar of Besu — for students from the state from the 2015-16 academic year.

The Left Front government, while giving its nod for Besu’s upgrade in 2007, had slapped a condition for reservation aimed at protecting the interests of “home students”.

“We have written to the human resource development ministry, requesting it to reserve 50 per cent seats for our students from the 2015-16 academic year. The ministry had earlier agreed to reserve seats at the institute for students from Bengal. Our letter is a kind of reminder,” Basu told Metro.

The higher education department, the minister added, will also write to IIEST director Ajoy Kumar Ray, requesting him to insert the provision for reservation for “home students’’ in the statutes.

“We are now under the control of the human resource development ministry and will do whatever the ministry suggests,” said Roy.

An official of the institute said the ministry had in a letter to the state government in 2007 promised to reserve 50 per cent seats for students from Bengal. “In the IIEST act, however, there is no mention of such reservation.”

Sources said the higher education department decided to approach the human resource development ministry and the IIEST on the issue after learning about the omission.

“If the clause is inserted in the statutes, there won’t be any confusion,” said a department official.

The institute after drafting the statutes would send them to the ministry for approval.

The IIEST this year will admit students through the state joint entrance exams. From next year it is likely to admit students through the JEE-Mains. A source, however, said the institute’s board of governors would “take a final call” on whether the admission would be through the JEE-Mains or the JEE-Advanced.

Asked why the higher education department was insisting on 50 per cent reservation for “home students”, an official said every year around 480 students are admitted to the Shibpur institute through the state JEE. “If the reservation is introduced after the IIEST moves out of the state JEE system, the loss would at least be partially compensated.”