Passage of Dhirubhai Bill to pave way for first pvt univ in Bengal

Written by Political Bureau | Kolkata | Updated: Nov 26 2008, 06:42am hrs
Marxist-ruled West Bengal has finally opened its gate for private universities. With the passage of the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Bill, 2008, in the Assembly on Tuesday, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has made it clear that he would not leave his reforms agenda despite Singur and Nandigram setbacks.

The proposal to set up a world class institute for imparting education on information technology near Kolkata came from Anil Ambani during a meeting with the chief minister in July 2006. The Rs 100-crore project, to be named after Anil's late father Dhirubhai Ambani, will come up in 18 months. The institute will be the state's first full-fledged private university and the second such institute from the Ambani group after the one in Gujarat.

The state government has identified the land required for the university in Kalyani, about 50 km from Kolkata. Sources in the CPI(M) said that a section of party hardliners had opposed the chief minister's idea to invite big players in the education sector. Their opinion was that the state government should control the education sector.

The Opposition Trinamool Congress criticised the bill and demanded that it should be sent to the select committee for further examination. Raising their opposition against such a bill, senior TMC legislator Sougata Roy said the government would have no control over the institution. "The Left Front government is working in line with Gujarat. If it is so, now you say that Narendra Modi's way is the Left Front's way," said Roy.