Private University Legislations in Orissa

Dear All,


As you are aware, the Government of Orissa has made legislations for establishing a few private universities in Orissa, which is unprecedented in the history of Orissa. Most of the existing government run universities (that serve the higher educational needs of the most of the students in Orissa) are starving for funds, lack of adequate infrastructure, unfilled vacancies and so on. On the other hand, the private universities are prospering with tacit and direct government promotion as well as huge donations and fees charged from the students. It is also lamentable that the private higher educational and technical institutions in Orissa are practicing illegal resource mobilization policies without any paper work in the name of management seats. All the money generated through these management seats go directly to the promoters of the educational institutions as black money and the Government does not get a single rupee as tax out of this money.


There are 12 government run higher education institutions of university status in Orissa which are in precarious condition due to lack of adequate resources both human and financial. The only Cultural University in Orissa, which is first of its kind in the entire Asia namely Utkal University of Culture which was established through a former Chief Minister from the Tribal Community is suffering from government apathy, rampant corruption and it is often alleged that the problems in this government institution is instigated by the educational lords of the State. The fees collected from each student from private educational institutions in a poor State like Orissa is so prohibiting that in certain instances it reaches Rs. 2 crore per student in medical education seats. While there is a need to put a control on these institutions, the present move by the government to have separate legislations for establishments of two universities such as the Vedanta University and Sri Sri University needs specific attention from the perspective of the future of education in the state. Higher education has become a privilege of a few in Orissa.


In the most recent initiative, the Government of Orissa has promoted two Private Universities namely, the Vedanta University and Sri Sri University through two separate legislations in the State Assembly. The Vedanta University has been given permission to operate on a huge area of 6000 acres of land which is more than the geographical area covered by all the government run universities in the State taken together. Again, quite undemocratically, the government of Orissa has also issued a notice to prohibit people to undertake any construction and other work within a distance of 5 KMs surrounding the allocated 6000 acres of land. Permission to a private university to run on such a huge area has threatened the local biodiversity and displacement of local people from their ancestral homes and land they had been tilling from centuries over generations. The Vedanta University authorities have also gone a step ahead with eviction of people from their homes by employing criminals and goons who enter into the villages and torture the inhabitants.


This is to appeal to you to speak out against such injustice and private enrichment at the cost of unprecedented distress of the common masses and to take appropriate steps at your level to stop such injustice.


Ratneswar Sahu





Orissa Government repeatedly claims that it would be a " World Class University ". Many people like me donot know the definitions of " World Class University ". The Orissa Government should clarify about it and also about the facts by which they were convienced that a businessman like Mr Anil Agarwal can establish such an university.


I would futher request Orissa Government and those who advocate in favour of Vedanta University to name atleast few " World Class Universities" which would be the role models of Vedanta University and the amount of land those have used to establish such universities.


Vedanta University authorities as well as Mr Anil Agarwal and Orissa Government should also come out with a detail claerification about extent of involvement of " Church of England " with Agarwal's ventures. Eagerness by Mr Agarwal Co. for selection of the site between two world famous Hindu shrines i.e. Puri and Konark and snattching away of " Amrut Manohi " land of Lord Jagannath seems to be totally motivated . It is strange that the organisations like the V.H.P. who claim to be self-styled guardians of Hinduism have sofar not probed into the motive behind selection of site and ultimate objective ( incase Church of England have a stake with Mr Agarwal's ventures , industrial, mining and otherwise.)


Can Government of Orissa or Mr Anil Agrawal as well as those who advotae in favour of Vedanta University give any gurantee that with a spen of ten/fifteen/twenty years the university can produce Nobel Laurates from this University ? If not will they surrender the land or Govt. aquire back the land from them ???


Orissa Government should come out with a conviencing reply stating the reasons for which it did not gant only 20 acres land for establishment of " Biju Patnaik Steel Institute " which is a reputed institute promoted by Government of India in memory of Orissa's great leader Biju Patnaik, father of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who has been able to come to power for three consequtive times in the name of his father and naming the party as Biju Janta Dal. What are the reasons behind the Biju Janata Dal leaders of Orissa and also that of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to become so loyal to Mr Anil Agarwal and not to late leader Biju Patnaik and the people of the State ?


Similarly arranging land for Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in close vicinity of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar is also shocking. If Ravishankar ji is interested to establish an University in Orissa , he should have preferred to choose in any area of K.B.K. district which has got aboaundant natural surroundings and wonderful ambiance for persuing yoga and other other activities.


Incase both Mr Anil Agarwal and Sri Sri Ravishankar are keen to enlighten the people of the world from Orissa, they should come forward to establish universities in undeveloped areas of K.B.K. districts which has abaundance of undisputed land . The promoters should come forward to establish universities by developing the infrastructure in the locality.


I will politely appeal Mr Agarwal and Sri Sri Ravishankar ji to clarify their stand/motive behind choosing such sites, which will be detremental for the people of the locality and orissa as a whole,


Prasanta Patnaik,