Almost a year after the issue of upgrading Bengal Engineering and Science University(BESU) in Shibpur to a national institute got stuck in the wake of violence on the campus,Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has given it fresh life.
The Railway Minister has written a letter to her Cabinet colleague,HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, to expedite the process initiated by his ministry so that it reaches fruitful conclusion at the earliest.
In her letter,dated July 14,Banerjee wrote that if the HRD ministry is indecisive about Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST),the BESU could be granted the status of the Indian Institute of Technology(IIT),as was the case of Benaras Hindu University (BHU).
She also pointed out that 154-year-old BESU topped the list of institutes that was to be accorded the national institute status,followed by BHU.
The BESU may be converted into an IIT as has been in the case of IIT- BHU that was the second institution selected for an IIEST (status), Banerjee wrote in the letter.
Nearly four years ago,Anandakrishnan Committee had recommended upgradation of five institutes to IIEST,a national institute. The five institutes were BESU,BHU,Cochin University of Science and Technology,Osmani University College of Engineering and Technology and Andhra University College of Engineering and Technology.
However,till date none has been upgraded to IIEST.
Though HRD ministry,in principle,agreed to upgrade BESU the second oldest engineering institute of the country in December 2007,and sent a letter to chief secretary of West Bengal on the issue,the process was withheld. Citing media reports about violence on the campus,the Union ministry sent a regret letter to the Governor of West Bengal in January 2009 saying that the upgradation of BESU has been put on hold.
Meanwhile,the Centre went ahead with setting up of new IITs. While the total number of IITs leap-frogged to 15,BESU in Shibpur with 120 acre campus and over 2,500 students and about 220 faculty members,still remained a state university. The Centre had recently allocated Rs 15 crore for the upgradation of the institute.