The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Delhi date to pluck 3 IIT thorns
- Meeting on JU and BE College fate on Feb. 23

Calcutta, Feb. 18: The crucial meeting to discuss who will govern Jadavpur University and Bengal Engineering and Science University, Shibpur, after they are awarded IIT status will be held in Delhi next week.

The outcome of the meeting will eventually enable the state government to take a final decision on whether it is going to accept the Centre's offer to upgrade the two institutions to IITs or not.

The Union human resource development ministry has convened a meeting with the authorities of the two institutions in Delhi on February 23.

It is learnt that apart from governance, the Thursday talks will focus on two other key issues ' the admission process and the extent of central funding after the institutions are upgraded.

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's government has so far not reacted enthusiastically to the IIT proposal mainly because the Centre has not clarified its stand on the three issues ' governance, admission and funding.

'We will be discussing these three issues in detail at the meeting,' a senior Bengal Engineering teacher said.

A three-member central inspection team, which visited the two institutions in December, submitted its report to the human resource development ministry on Monday.

During the inspection, the JU authorities had told the team that it wanted to follow a middle path in terms of governance after it was granted the IIT status.

Under the existing set-up, both JU and BE College have elected administrative bodies. In the IITs, the administrative bodies consist of nominated members. The two universities want both nominated and elected members in the governing bodies.

The admission issue is also vital because the government does not favour changing the system of taking in students through state-level Joint Entrance Examinations.

But, if the institutions are granted IIT status, the admission procedure will have to be brought under the IIT entrance examination system. 'We are waiting to know the inspection team's suggestion in this regard,' a JU official said.

The Centre has agreed to provide nearly Rs 300 crore to JU and nearly Rs 900 crore to BE College for the upgrade in phases.

'But we must get a clear picture on whether the Centre will continue to provide financial assistance to them on a par with the annual grants it provides to the IITs,' a state government official said.

HRD officials said the panel had rated JU and BE College the 'most deserving' of the seven institutions short-listed for the upgrade.

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