From Chandrashekhar Sahu in Raipur
In a span of about three-and-a-half years after the birth of the new state of Chhattisgarh, the state government under Congress had given recognition to more than 100 private universities. In the State Assembly, Shri Vikram Usendi, the new BJP minister stated that 97 private universities running in the state since the year 2002, would have to comply with the conditions stipulated in the Act to remain operational. He pointed out that without having obtained the approval of the state government, these private universities were running courses and were collect-ing fees from the students, without providing an adequate teaching staff.
Under this Act, the private universities, to remain in the field, are required to have at least 25 acres of land in Raipur and must deposit Rs 2 crores before the regulatory panel by June 30 this year. A building with the construction area of a minimum 25,000 sq ft is necessary and the university must offer at least three courses. Under the provision of this Act, Vice-Chancellors of these private universities are expected to reside in the campus.
Mats University was the first to deposit Rs 2 crores and purchase 70 acres of land in Mana. Other private universities challenged this amended Private Universities Act in the Bilaspur High Court. The High Court has asked the state government to submit its views on the issue.
Less than 15 private universities have come up to follow the new criterion, but the total picture will become clear only after some time.
Initial permission, followed by amendment in the Private Universities Act and the subsequent challenge in the High Court, all have resulted in creating turbulence. At this stage of uncertainty, when the High Court verdict is yet to come, the students are in a state of dilemma, more because of eye-catching advertisements of these private universities in the media.
Interest of investors, level of education and future of students are the vital components in this issue of public interest; hence, recognition of these private universities has drawn intensive reactions from different corners.