MoU signed for tech cradles

Ranchi, Feb. 5: The state science and technology department today signed an MoU with a Calcutta-based company to run two engineering colleges in Chaibasa (West Singhbhum) and Dumka ' the firsts in both districts ' on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

Governor's adviser K. Vijay Kumar, under whose presence the agreement with Techno India Group was signed, termed the partnership a welcome move to spread technical education in Jharkhand, adding the state had the potential to emerge as a hub in this regard.

"It will also benefit the poor and unprivileged classes which cannot afford high costs for technical education," he said.

Director of state science and technology department Arun Kumar told The Telegraph: "According to the agreement, 53 per cent of the state's students can avail of education at rates fixed by the government in the Chaibasa institute, while the percentage will be 21 per cent in Dumka."

The authorities are expecting Techno India ' which has also been roped in by the department for an engineering institute and polytechnic at Ramgarh and Silli ' would manage to gain approval from All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to start courses at Chaibasa and Dumka from this academic session (2013-14).

Kumar said that to start with, 300 seats each would be on offer at the Chaibasa and Dumka cradles, with a break-up of 60 for five separate trades.

But, he added, the final approval from AICTE would be crucial.

Chief operating officer of Techno India Group Suman Chatterjee said, "Jharkhand is our focus area. We are planning more such projects in Jharkhand in the coming days. The state's response has been very encouraging. We would certainly like to continue partnering the department of science and technology."

Techno India will admit 25 per cent of the seats based on its own entrance test while 75 per cent berths will be filled up through the Jharkhand Combined Entrance Competitive Examination Board, a state entity that conducts tests for engineering, medical, agriculture, forestry, veterinary and other courses.

The company will be responsible to run the institutes for 30 years on licence. Its role will include upgrade, operation, maintenance and management according to AICTE norms, besides securing and maintenance at its cost all applicable permits/approvals/licences, et al.

Chaibasa, the headquarters of West Singhbhum which is known for its vast mineral reserves and faced with the Naxalite menace in several pockets including Saranda, lacks an engineering college till date.

Dumka, too, is deprived of an engineering college, though BIT-Mesra runs an extension centre in neighbouring Deoghar district.

Sources said the college building in Chaibasa was complete, while few tasks including electrification were pending in the upcoming institute in Dumka. The authorities are hopeful about readying the buildings within a couple of months.

The colleges were supposed to start functioning two years ago, but the laggard government machinery failed to take the projects off the ground.

Chief secretary S.K. Choudhary, development commissioner Debashish Gupta, additional chief secretary Vinod Agrawal who holds the science and technology portfolio, industry secretary A.P. Singh and his urban development department counterpart Nitin Madan Kulkarni were also present during the signing of the MoU at Project Building this afternoon.