New universities to come up on outskirts

The Shiv Nadar University, being set up as a private university by State legislation, will come up on a 230-acre site at Kalavakkam on the outskirts of Chennai, where the group’s SSN College of Engineering is located. The SSN Trust is expected to pump in at least Rs. 250 crore to set up the university.

“We are committed to creating a world class research institution,” an official associated with the proposed Shiv Nadar University said on condition of anonymity.

Separately, Kala Vijayakumar, president of SSN Institutions, said the university would come up on SSN’s 230-acre campus and would offer multi-disciplinary courses in fields, including engineering, commerce, arts and law. As of now, there is no proposal to set up a medical college, Ms. Vijayakumar said.

“Tamil Nadu cannot lose an opportunity to have a private university. We have over 90 research projects worth Rs. 27 crore under government funding at SSN College of Engineering. We also have non-governmental agencies giving us funds,” she said.

An official in the Higher Education Ministry said the Shiv Nadar University was the result of a part of the memorandum signed by tech major HCL, founded by Shiv Nadar, and ELCOT two years ago. The MoU had two other components, including a proposal to establish a business centre in Madurai and setting up of a training centre for HCL’s employees, both of which have been completed.

The third component was the setting up of a private university at a cost of Rs. 250 crore, the official said.

The Sai Education, Medical, Research and Charitable Trust, administered by K.V. Ramani, chairman and managing director of Digital Holdings and a former director of ELCOT, will build the Sai University, on the outskirts of Chennai.

Sources said the Trust had promised an investment of Rs. 320 crore. Mr. Ramani was instrumental in building the Shirdi Sai Baba temple in Injambakkam.

When contacted, Higher Education Secretary Sunil Paliwal said, “We have put some conditions and when they satisfy the requirements, they will come back to the government, which will then notify (the finer details of the proposed university).” He added, “They have given a proposal which they will fine-tune. We will look at other States and how they have developed the private universities. This Act gives them (the Trust) a comfort that government has made a commitment (towards establishing private universities).”

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