Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vedanta university - and land grabs of private colleges

The Vedanta group's ambitious plans for a world-class university has suffered a huge setback - and perhaps won't happen now- with the Orissa High Court's adverse ruling in the case related to acquisition of land for the project. FT reports:

The Orissa High Court has ruled that the Orissa government’s acquisition of about 6,500 acres of land – including 500 acres from Puri’s famous Jagannath temple – and the land’s subsequent transfer to Mr Agarwal’s eponymous foundation to build Vedanta University was illegal.

The court has ordered that the land be returned to its original owners. The judgment – in response to a clutch of public interest lawsuits challenging the land acquisition – will bring a formal end to the long-stalled plans for the university, which Vedanta had already concluded was unlikely to ever get off the ground in Orissa.

The ruling has brought to the fore the question of land being acquired for setting up of private universities and colleges. BS has an interesting feature on the subject today. The article notes that the Anil Ambani group has recently been alloted 110 acres by the MP government for its foray into education while ISB got 70 acres of land in Mohali. The land allotment is disproportionate to the requirement in many cases. Where it is made over to private parties, the suspicion of a land grab is bound to be there.

BS notes that a good engineering institute can be set up on 10 acres and a management institute on 5. So why are private institutions asking for and getting so much land? It also notes that Infosys' Mysore training facility is on a 337 acre campus. This is not even a degree-granting facility, it is strictly for a private company. Interestingly, Shiv Nadar and Aziz Premji are acquiring and pay for the land they need for their educational ventures instead of seeking concessional land from the government.


Unknown said...

Dear Sir,

i totally agree with your opinion that a good management institute can be run on 5 acres of land. i am currently doing my executive MBA from IIFT delhi which is spread over only 6 acres and still is a top10 college. FMS delhi also functions from less than 5 acres facility and happens to be among top 5 institutes.In our country "the powers that be" continue play the game of favourites and bestow precious land at dirt cheap prices at their whim and fancy. IT companies despite having humungous profits, want to continue to remain subjects of government largesse. That is why they wanted the IT sunset clause extended indefinitely, since they didn't get that now they jolly well will make do with cheap govt land.

Sumeet Bansal

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Santosh Sali said...

Oh "Good management Institute can be run on 5 Acres" , Good and who will tell this to regulatory bodies - who had set this mark to higher level ,

And then why IIT & IIM are holding obscenely large land ?

We have developed a culture ,where large real-assets are linked with better facilities ..

Need to change the same.

Anonymous said...

Are you suggesting that the Mysore Infosys facility got free land from the government?