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Newspapers: No Central (IIEST) status for BESU now - Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 06:47

 

This page was last updated on Feb 26, 2009 (7:30 pm IST)

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The Indian Express

Express News Service
Posted: Feb 21, 2009 at 0300 hrs IST

Kolkata: The indiscipline and frequent unrest on the campus have cost the Bengal Engineering and the Science University (BESU) the central status of Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST).

The ministry of Human Resource and Development has sent a regret letter, saying the university cannot be upgraded.

The letter, sent to the university chancellor, Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, conveyed that the status is being denied on two grounds: The university administration is in shambles, it said, and unless things improve, the Centre will not consider upgradation.

The second reason is that the expenditure finance report of the university was not satisfactory.

The university was asked to submit the report on how it would spend the money allocated in the 11th plan period.

For the past two years, the institute has been rocked by violence and frequent protests by teachers and non-teaching staff. The students were asked twice to vacate the campus, which was closed for an indefinite period.

The university authorities are however silent on the recent developments.

“We have heard about a letter to the office of the Vice-Chancellor from Raj Bhavan. But we are not aware of its contents,” said registrar Biman Bandopadhyay. Ironically, Vice-Chancellor N R Banerjea is in Delhi to expedite the process of upgradation.

The Anadakrishnan Committee had recommended six institutes along with BESU for the IIEST status. According to university sources, it was in the top slot.

On December 31, 2007, a letter was sent to the state’s chief secretary from the Centre, which said BESU will be upgraded.

Teachers are taken aback by the developments.

“The condition that 50 per cent students at the central university will be from the state might have been a deterrent on which the ministry decided to take such a step. Moreover, there were ample hints from the ministry that the institute can be upgraded to an IIT but the state government did not oblige,” said a teacher.

Some think that this is a politically-motivated step, since the Left Front is out of the coalition. The chief minister and the state higher education minister have written to the Centre a number of times on the upgradation of the institute.

The decision also begs why the ministry did not inform the state government before taking the decision. Students are in shock as well.

“Instances of campus unrest are not good for the image of a campus. But that it would cost us the much-awaited central status is a shock,” said a student.

The institute will miss
* Rs 519 crore in the plan period and recurring Central grants
* Status at par with the IITs
* Developments in campus infrastructure
* BTech and MTech programmes

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