Assam passes 4 varsity bills – Govt to open more universities, mend embankments; clears air on encroachment

Himanta Biswa Sarma in Dispur on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Sept. 7: The Assam Assembly today passed four bills to set up a cultural university in Majuli and to upgrade three existing colleges in Lakhimpur, Barpeta and Hojai districts to universities.

Madhabdev College at Bihpuria in Lakhimpur will be upgraded to Madhabdev University, Bajali College at Pathsala in Barpeta district to Bhattadev University and Hojai College to Rabindranath Tagore University.

Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said these universities will reduce the load on Gauhati and Dibrugarh universities which are overburdened because of increase in the number of colleges affiliated to them.

The decision to open more universities in the state was taken in the backdrop of widespread growth of colleges in the past couple of decades. A committee was constituted by the state government to evaluate the existing colleges in Lakhimpur, Barpeta and Hojai districts and on the basis of parameters such as academic performance, infrastructure, human resources and availability of land, these three colleges were selected for upgrade to universities.

Sarma said Madhabdev University would cater to colleges on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, Rabindranath Tagore University to those in central Assam and Bhattadev University to those in lower Assam, excluding the BTAD.

“We will try to make these universities functional within the next six months,” he added.

The University of Culture in Majuli, the seat of Vaishnavite culture, will promote education, research and training in various spheres of culture, including language, literature, visual arts, folklore, ethnic studies, performing arts, Sattriya dance, ankia bhaona and mukha (mask). It will endeavour to promote regional art and culture and develop a first-of-its-kind cultural, educational, career development-cum-research hub in the state.

During discussions on the Majuli University of Culture Bill, 2017, in the Assembly, AGP MLA Brindaban Goswami pointed out that the Jyoti-Bishnu University of Art and Culture Bill, which proposed to set up a university in Tezpur, was passed in the Assembly in 2011 but the institute is yet to see the light of the day. Goswami said after the bill was passed, some preliminary work was done but it did not progress.

Sarma, who had held the education portfolio in the erstwhile Congress government too, today blamed the Congress government for the delay and said it would know why the university could not be set up in five years after passing the bill.

The BJP-led government came to power in the state last year by defeating the Congress government.

News Source Telegraph India

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