Vedanta University

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Proposed Vedanta University Project
VedantaUniversityOrissaLogo.jpg
Type Proposed Private
Established 2006
Endowment Unverified endowment numbers
Administrative staff
None
Students None
Location Konark, Orissa, India
Campus Rural, 6,000 acres planned, not yet acquired
Website www.vedanta.edu.in

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, in late April 2015 a revival of the project was initiated; The ex-Chief Secretary of Odisha, Mr. Bijay Patnaik, was 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.

Some details of the vision in the university can be found in the website archive. [10]

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.

VedantaUniversityOrissaLogo.jpg

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. [11]

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. [12] [13]

Controversies[edit]

An academic has questioned whether, given its location and size, Vedanta can achieve its aims of being a leading research university.[14] A rejoinder was also published.[15] 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.[16]

Legal Issues[edit]

High Court Declares Land Acquisition for the 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[17] [18][19] [20] [20]

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.[21]

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. [3] [4] 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. In an interview with Telegraph [22] he discusses more details on his task in reviving Vedanta University. He also gave an interview [23] (in Oriya) to OTV, a major cable channel in Odisha where he addresses many questions that has been raised by the media on this issue.

Some signs of a possible revival were earlier reported in September 2014 [24] and December 2014. [25] 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: [26] [27] [28]

The Supreme court of India on November 28th, 2016 gave some positive indications that it may allow Vedanta University. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India and a member of the bench hearing this case, Justice T.S. Thakur, is quoted to have said "Why should anyone oppose setting up of a world class university which will give opportunity to over one lakh students? If somebody is making an investment of Rs 2,500 crore in education, why should somebody oppose it? Students will benefit. Public would benefit." [29] The Supreme Court bench seems to have suggested that the court may monitor the setting up of the university so as to make sure that the land is used for the university and not for commercial purposes. [30] Following that, the promoter, Mr. Anil Agarwal, said to OTV in Bhubaneswar: "We will definitely go ahead with the plan to set up the university". [31]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[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. 
  4. ^ a b "Former CS Patnaik joins Vedanta Varsity Project". April 30, 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. ^ "Vedanta University Website archive of February 6, 2012". Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. 
  11. ^ Rautray, Samanwaya (29 January 2011). "Status quo on Vedanta land". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 
  12. ^ Centre halts Vedanta university
  13. ^ Jairam says no to Vedanta campus in Orissa | NDTV.com
  14. ^ "Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream". The Hindu. Chennai, India. August 29, 2007. 
  15. ^ Odisha HRD » Rejoinder to “Vedanta University: a flawed pipe dream”
  16. ^ "Vedanta University in Orissa & the dismal state of higher education in country". Orissa Diary. Aug 21, 2009. 
  17. ^ Asian Centre for Human Rights
  18. ^ Land acquisition procedure for Vedanta University illegal: HC - Indian Express
  19. ^ Land acquisition procedure for Vedanta University illegal: HC
  20. ^ a b http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/7349104-another-set-back-to-vedanta
  21. ^ "SC orders status quo on Vedanta university land in Orissa". The Times Of India. 29 January 2011. 
  22. ^ "Hot seat: Bijay Kumar Patnaik, IAS (retired), former chief secretary and current president of Vedanta University project". May 23, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Kholakatha 14 May 2015". May 14, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Anil Agarwal to donate 75% of wealth for good of society". September 26, 2014. 
  25. ^ "Anil Agarwal: Charity on his mind Agarwal has pledged three-fourths of his wealth to philanthropy. Will he deliver?". December 6, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Vedanta Group hopeful of revival of varsity project". November 1, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Anil Agarwal to take a non-executive post at Vedanta in 3-4yrs". November 28, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Vedanta will double earnings to $12-13 bn in 2-3 years: Anil Agarwal: Interview with chairman, Vedanta". February 19, 2013. 
  29. ^ "SC hope for varsity plan by Vedanta". November 29, 2016. 
  30. ^ "May monitor setting up of private university in Odisha: SC". November 29, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Vedanta hopeful of Puri varsity". December 1, 2016. 

References[edit]