Calcutta, Dec. 15: The Assembly today unanimously passed the St. Xavier's University, Kolkata, Bill, 2016, paving the way for setting up the state's eighth self-financing private university.
"It is a historic moment for all Jesuits in Bengal, and St. Xavier's in particular. Xaverians across the world will celebrate," said Father Felix Raj, principal, St. Xavier's College, who could not attend the session because of health reasons. "I would specially like to thank the chief minister and the government."
Congress MLA Nepal Mahato suggested some amendments to the bill but it was eventually passed unanimously.
"This is a Christmas gift to the Christians of Bengal from chief minister Mamata Banerjee. I am confident the university will grow to be one of the best academic institutes in India and the world," education minister Partha Chatterjee said after the bill was passed.
The alumni of St. Xavier's College welcomed the move. "It is a big day for us. This is just the start and we have a long way to go," said Firdausul Hasan, the honorary secretary of St. Xavier's College Calcutta Alumni Association.
St. Xavier's University will be a unitary university like Jadavpur and Presidency and not have the power to affiliate a college. But St. Xavier's University may have constituent colleges, which will operate as branches of the main institution at New Town, across Bengal. "We will start appointing officers and work towards starting the university's first session in July 2017," Father Felix Raj said.
"St. Xavier's will be a private, minority university. We will start with BBA, BCom, MCom, MSW, MA in Journalism, and MA in English in July 2017 and open MBA courses in 2018," said the principal.