A major promise of the BJP-led Narendra Modi government in the rail sector, the country’s first Railway University at Vadodara is ready to begin classes on Teachers’ Day next month.
While it is expected that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose brainchild the university is, will declare the institution open and the Railways Ministry has communicated the date to the Prime Minister’s Office, an official confirmation from the PMO is awaited.
For two undergraduate courses offered by the university in the first year, 103 students have been shortlisted. The two courses are a Bachelor of Science in Transportation Technology and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Transport Management. There are 17 girls in the batch for whom there’s a separate hostel.
Students will arrive at the campus by September 4 for the formal inauguration, while classes for the academic session will start the next day, coinciding with Teachers’ Day. “This way the university will have a memorable day to celebrate its founding,” a senior government official told The Indian Express.
The new university building has been designed in the likeness of Pratap Vilas Palace of the erstwhile Gaekwad state, which houses National Academy of Indian Railways on the same campus. Both institutions will run from this campus until a new, greenfield campus for the university comes up some years later.
The Railways has identified a 100-acre plot in Vadodara for the greenfield campus and is in talks with the Gujarat government to acquire it.
Chairman, Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani is the Chancellor of the university. For academics, it will be getting visiting faculty from the likes of Indian Business School, Hyderabad and XLRI School of Management, among others.
The government is giving the inaugural batch 50 per cent scholarship in the annual course fee of Rs 75,000. In all, without the scholarship, the fee is Rs 91,000 for a year, including all charges.
Work on the university, announced in the first Rail Budget of the BJP-led government in 2014, had been at a standstill, with files going back and forth in the ministry until last year. Progress and shape of the final university emerged only in the past few months in what is regarded in the ministry as record speed.