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Private varsities wait for land nod

Shillong, July 13: Private universities in Meghalaya are unable to function properly owing to the delay in granting permission to acquire land by the state government.

Barring CMJ University, which has been dissolved following the discovery of irregularities in its functioning, Meghalaya has at least nine private universities created through various legislations passed by the state Assembly.

Most of these private universities are functioning from rented buildings since they are still waiting for the government to grant them permission to complete the land acquisition process.

Officials of some private universities said the inability to acquire land for setting up a permanent campus has hindered their ability to carry out academic and administrative functions properly.

“We have already engaged with land owners who are willing to give up land and followed various processes related to land acquisition. We are waiting for the state government to give us permission to complete the land agreement with the land owners,” an official of Techno Global University said.

Techno Global University was established through an act passed in the Assembly in 2008 and is functioning from a building of Shillong Polytechnic in Mawlai.

On the other hand, some private universities like William Carey University (WCU), Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India (ICFAI) University and University of Science and Technology (US&T) have managed to get land for setting up their campuses.

The University of Science and Technology, established in 2008 through an act of the Assembly, had acquired more than 400 acres of land in Ri Bhoi district along the Meghalaya-Assam border.

WCU chancellor Ken Gnanakan said the university would set up its permanent campus in Ri Bhoi district on eight acres of land bought at Umsning by ACTS Groups of Institutions, the sponsoring body for WCU.

Similarly, the ICFAI headquartered at Tura in Garo hills had acquired about 13 acres of land for establishing its permanent campus.

The Meghalaya government through an executive order issued on March 30, 2011, had prohibited transfer of land to non-tribal entities, which include companies, societies and NGOs pending amendment to the Meghalaya Land Transfer Act, 1971, and restructuring of the industrial and investment policy.

However, a notification issued on August 24, 2012, exempted education from the purview of the executive order, paving the way for private universities to acquire land in the state.

Deputy chief minister and in-charge of education and revenue, R.C. Laloo, had said the education sector was taken out of the purview of the executive order in the interest of people and assured that land use would be properly regulated.

The Meghalaya Private Universities (Establishment and Maintenance of Standards) Regulations Act, 2012, was also passed by the Assembly to regulate private universities.