The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Varsities eye grant for centres

Ranchi, Feb. 28: The higher education scenario in the state would get an unprecedented boost if Jharkhand universities’ consolidated short-term plan gets the Planning Commission nod.

The document includes the universities’ five-year plans and would to be submitted to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi tomorrow to get the required grants.

The five universities in the state are eyeing for “only” 2.5 per cent of the state’s annual plan approved by the Centre, which is over Rs 6,500 crore, said vice-chancellor of Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, S.K. Mukherjee.

The other four universities — Birsa Agriculture University (BAU), Ranchi University (RU), Hazaribagh-based Vinobha Bhave University (VBU) and Dumka-based Sidhu Kanhu Murmu University— are also ready with their proposals.

BIT has proposed a specialised centre for nanotechnology, and centres for energy and environment, habitat and habitation as well as chemical research, among others. The deemed university would require around Rs 270 crore, said Mukherjee.

RU vice-chancellor A.A. Khan said they are eyeing for an institute of natural resource management system, which would require about Rs 55 crore.

“The proposed institute’s primary purpose would be research and manpower generation in the state by tapping opportunities in mineral resources’ exploration and its utilisation,” said Khan.

VBU has drafted proposal worth Rs 216 crore which includes a centre of excellence in geology, petroleum and earth sciences besides a linguistic laboratory, a department of museology and archaeology.

The proposals drawn up by BAU, said its director (research) B.N. Singh, require Rs 160 crore. The bid is to start centres for animal genomics, biotechnology, soil and water pollution and organic farming research, among others.

Officials of the universities are “quite hopeful” the proposals would be accepted.

The BIT vice-chancellor said if the plans are accepted, the Union human resource development ministry and the department of science and technology would have to allocate Rs 80 crore each annually. The Union ministry of agriculture could also help by allocating funds to BAU.

University authorities said they get financial support from the state government but most of these funds are spent on salaries and related expenditures thus leaving n nothing for expansion projects. The “nominal” funds the Department of Science and Technology and the UGC provide are for specific projects and cannot be diverted, they added.

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