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Vacant seats prompt JU plea for counselling

Jadavpur University (JU) has sought permission from the higher education department to fill up 147 vacant engineering seats by holding counselling on its own, a proposal that has sparked fear of exodus among other engineering institutions.

The institutions, many of them privately-funded, fear they would have to contend with vacant seats if the JU went ahead with its plan.

Of the 1,047 JU seats offering four-year BTech courses in 17 disciplines, 147 have remained vacant after a three-phased centralised online counselling held by the state joint entrance examination (JEE) board for the 30,000-odd seats across the state.

The counselling ended late July.

JU interim vice-chancellor Abhijit Chakrabarti told Metro that the university’s admissions committee had decided at a meeting last Wednesday to write to the higher education department, seeking permission to hold counselling to fill up the vacant seats.

“If so many seats remain vacant, it’s alarming. So we have sought permission to hold offline counselling to fill up the seats. If the department grants permission, we will ask JEE rank-holders to apply to appear in the counselling,” said Chakrabarti.

At JU, around 10 per cent of the BTech seats usually remain vacant every year (this year’s count is a little more than 10 per cent).

Asked what prompted the university to plan a special counselling this year, Chakrbarti said many students had written to him saying they failed to take admission after the centralised counselling because of sudden illness and pleaded for fresh counselling.

Higher education minister Partha Chatterjee said: “I am yet to see the JU’s proposal. We will announce our decision after going through details of the proposal.”

The state has already allowed the 80-odd private engineering colleges to hold separate (decentralised) counselling after the centralised counselling to fill up the vacant seats.

If the JU is allowed to conduct the special counselling, the students appearing for it must have at least 60 per cent marks in physics, chemistry and math each at the Higher Secondary or equivalent exams, Chakrabarti said. The JEE rank will be the other deciding factor.

Asked whether students who have taken admission to the other institutes could take part in the counselling, the interim VC said: “They can take part in the counselling. If they are selected and want to take admission in the JU, they would have to first struck their names off the roles of the other colleges.”

A senior professor at the Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IIEST) said if the JU was granted the permission, there might be an exodus from the Shibpur campus and other institutes.

IIEST director Ajoy Ray told Metro that most of their 532 seats have been filled up and the institute had no plan to offer any special concession.

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