Vedanta University

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Proposed Vedanta University Project
Established 2006
Type Proposed Private
Endowment Unverified endowment numbers
Chancellor Sam Pitroda (tentative)
Administrative staff
Students None
Location Konark, Orissa, India
Campus Rural, 6,000 acres planned, not yet acquired

Vedanta University is a proposed, private, multi-disciplinary, co-educational university to be started by Anil Agarwal of Vedanta Resources corporation near Puri-Konark highway, Orissa, India. According to the news reports and as of Sep 2010, the plans of the university was a closed chapter.[1] However, recently a revival of the project is being tried; The ex-Chief Secretary of Odisha, Mr. Bijay Patnaik, has been hired as the President of the Vedanta University Project to revive this project. [2] [3] [4]

The vision[edit]

Anil Agarwal, an Indian businessman, who heads the London based Vedanta Resources corporation and Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Orissa state in eastern India, had signed a memorandum of understanding to create a world class, multidisciplinary university, Vedanta University.[5] The university, which would be entirely a not-for-profit venture, was planned to be funded from Agarwal's personal funds[5][6] Sam Pitroda, the chairman of the Knowledge Commission was the choice of the first chancellor of Vedanta University. Recent reports also suggest that at least three Nobel laureates have been contracted to join the university.[7] In July 2009, the government of Orissa passed a landmark bill to allow the massive university to be set up and function with autonomy.[8][9]

The three goals of Vedanta University are in the following directions:

  • Education: To provide meritorious Indian students access to world class education within India.
  • Research: To conduct cutting edge research on globally relevant topics from an Asian-centric perspective.
  • Society: To produce tomorrow's leaders, and to promote economic growth in the region.

Academics and research[edit]

According to the Anil Agarwal Foundation, the university was being modeled most closely on Stanford University and aims to be a peer institution to them in terms of world class research and education.


Schools and colleges[edit]

Centers of excellence[edit]

Campus and township[edit]

The foundation has identified 6,000 acres (24 km2) of land near the Puri-Konark marine drive between Nuanai and Balighai for the proposed Vedanta University. However the land acquisition for the university has hit a roadblock with the Supreme court ordering a status quo and hence the project has been stayed. [10]

Environmental Violations[edit]

Several environmental violations were raised against the university which resulted in cases in the High court and the Supreme Court. In May 2010, Government of India asked the Anil Agarwal Foundation to stall the construction of the proposed Vedanta University at Puri to address issues related to environmental violations in the project. [11] [12]


An academic has questioned whether, given its location and size, Vedanta can achieve its aims of being a leading research university.[13] A rejoinder was also published.[14] Another criticism leveled at the university, by politicians, local academicians, and the farmers currently occupying the proposed site relates to the relatively vast area of the proposed campus and its large student intake,although a few individual opinions differ.[15]

Legal Issues[edit]

High Court Declares University as Illegal and Void[edit]

On 16 November 2010, the Orissa High Court declared the land acquisition for the Rs 15,000-crore Vedanta University project in Puri town as illegal and void[16] [17][18] [19] [19]

Supreme Court - Status quo on all land acquisition for Vedanta[edit]

A couple of months later, the Supreme court of India based in New Delhi ordered a stay or status Quo on all acquisition proceedings.[20]

University was a closed chapter for four plus years[edit]

News paper reports appeared saying that the university is a closed chapter.[1]

Revival Attempt starting April 30, 2015[edit]

A revival of the project is being tried with the hiring of the ex-Chief Secretary of Odisha, Mr. Bijay Patnaik, as the President of the Vedanta University Project. He joined this position on April 30, 2015. [4] [3] He told TOI [2] that his priority would be to expedite the decision in the supreme court case. Asked about potential conflict of interest, he said that such a question does not arise as the project he has joined has nothing to do with Vedanta as a company and he personally feels that the university is a desirable project that should take shape in the interest of Odisha.

Some signs of a possible revival were earlier reported in September 2014 [21] and December 2014. [22] However, prior to that, in the previous years (2012, 2013), Anil Agarwal in some of his interviews did talk about his continuing interest in establishing Vedanta University. See for example: [23] [24] [25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Vedanta University a closed chapter - Indian Express
  2. ^ a b "Babu’s Vedanta univ president post raises brows". April 30, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Former Odisha CS BK Patnaik joins Vedanta Group". April 29, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "Anil Agarwal donates $1 billion to set up university". 
  6. ^ "Major Private Gifts to Higher Education Since 1967". 
  7. ^ "Pitroda likely to be first Chancellor of Vedanta varsity". 
  8. ^ Mishra, Sandeep (July 30, 2009). "Bill for Vedanta varsity gets legislative seal". The Times Of India. 
  9. ^ "Orissa assembly passes Vedanta University Bill, 2009". 
  10. ^ Rautray, Samanwaya (29 January 2011). "Status quo on Vedanta land". The Telegraph (Calcutta, India). 
  11. ^ Centre halts Vedanta university
  12. ^ Jairam says no to Vedanta campus in Orissa |
  13. ^ "Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream". The Hindu (Chennai, India). August 29, 2007. 
  14. ^ Odisha HRD » Rejoinder to “Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream”
  15. ^ "Vedanta University in Orissa & the dismal state of higher education in country". Orissa Diary. Aug 21, 2009. 
  16. ^ Asian Centre for Human Rights
  17. ^ Land acquisition procedure for Vedanta University illegal: HC - Indian Express
  18. ^ Land acquisition procedure for Vedanta University illegal: HC
  19. ^ a b
  20. ^ "SC orders status quo on Vedanta university land in Orissa". The Times Of India. 29 January 2011. 
  21. ^ "Anil Agarwal to donate 75% of wealth for good of society". September 26, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Anil Agarwal: Charity on his mind Agarwal has pledged three-fourths of his wealth to philanthropy. Will he deliver?". December 6, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Vedanta Group hopeful of revival of varsity project". November 1, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Anil Agarwal to take a non-executive post at Vedanta in 3-4yrs". November 28, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Vedanta will double earnings to $12-13 bn in 2-3 years: Anil Agarwal: Interview with chairman, Vedanta". February 19, 2013.