Wednesday, October 18, 2006 on some issues that need to be resolved

Can the much-hyped Vedanta University proposal become a reality?

The Government of Orissa on July 19 signed a MOU with the Vedanta Foundation for setting up an international standard multi disciplinary university in the state.

This is not all, the Government has also announced that it has demarcated 8,000 acre of land near Puri-Konark marine drive for the Vedanta University.

The Vedanta, on its part, has also announced that the university would be set up at the investment of Rs 15,000 crore, which is certainly unique in the world.

The MOU says that the Vedanta Foundation has sought for at least 10,000 acre of land for making provisions for at least one lakh students.

The Government has agreed to provide 8,000 acre of land free of cost to the Foundation within three months, the deadline of which was completed on October 18. (Today)

Sources said that the Government has utterly failed to meet the deadline because of technical reasons.

Investigations carried out by the revealed that the State Government cannot provide land to Vedanta Foundation because the MoU was signed with a private company.

“Had there been a MOU with and society, foundation or trust, the Government could have given the land.

But in this case, the MOU is between the Government and the Vedanta Foundation, which is a private company,” said a senior officer.

He said that though it appears that Vedanta Foundation is a “Foundation”, in fact, it is a private company registered under the Companies Act-1956.

According to the law, the Government directly cannot give land to any company.

Because the Government only can give land for public purpose to a trust or a society.

Any company has to apply for a piece of land to the IDCO for the industrial purpose.

The proposed university came to the fore when it was revealed that the IDCO cannot give land to any private body for setting up educational institutions.

This is because an educational institution is not an “Industry”.

Double trouble for Vedanta foundation is that without the University Grant’s Commission of India (UGC)’s approval it has used a name called “Vedanta University.”

The UGC has put clear restriction on the use of word— “University” by any one including a private company like Vedanta Foundation.

If any body uses it then he has to give fine as it is an offence as per UGC Act.

An institution can be only being recognized as a University, once the institution receives clearance as per the UGC guidelines.

In this scenario State Government has landed up in a fix and top mandarins are burning mid night oil to regale out of the situation.

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