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Rs 100 cr for IIEST

The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) will soon get Rs 100 crore from the Centre, its first large-scale grant from Delhi since an upgrade from a state-aided university early this year.

The Shibpur institute — known as the Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) before the upgrade — had recently sought Rs 153 crore from the Centre for plan and non-plan expenses for the 2014-15 fiscal.

Sources said human resource development ministry officials have told the IIEST that it would soon release Rs 100 crore. “The allocation is for plan and non-plan expenditures. A large portion of the funds will be spent on modernising laboratories to facilitate advanced research in engineering and technology,” said M.N. Sarkar, the finance adviser to the IIEST.

“The Centre is yet to specify its annual grant but we are expecting close to Rs 100 crore every year,” said an IIEST official.

An institute official said a formal order on the release of the money is expected in a week. Around Rs 50 crore of the grant is likely to be used for infrastructure and laboratory upgrade, said a source. A certain amount will be spent on paying salaries.

As Besu, the institute used to be funded only by the state. Following the presidential assent to the upgrade bill on March 4, all its funds come from the Centre.

Besu used to get Rs 45-50 crore every year from the state govern ment, more than 90 per cent of which was spent on paying salaries. For infrastructure upgrade, it used to mostly depend on the meagre funds it would generate from its resources.

“No wonder we lagged far behind the IITs in infrastructure. Once the central funds start coming, we will equip the laboratories with modern gadgets and ready them for advanced research,” the source said.

What makes the IIEST structure unique is its dual-degree multidisciplinary programmes —five-year integrated courses, the successful completion of which will earn the students master’s degrees. “The integrated programmes will have 500 seats. The kind of infrastructure we have is far from adequate to offer postgraduate-level education to as many as 500 students,” said a teacher.

In addition, academic blocks will be constructed and each of the students’ hostels will have an additional floor to accommodate more students.

Since there is a shortage of space on the campus, the institute has plans for vertical expansion of a number of academic blocks. There are proposals to set up a fully-equipped central library, a modern auditorium and a lecture hall complex. In all, the institute has submitted 21 schemes for infrastructure upgrade.