Space-starved Mumbai can now have more engineering colleges. On Saturday the Union human resources development minister said that the 2.5 acre land requirement for engineering institutes in the city will be reduced.
The requirement is set by the All India Council of Technical Education.
There are several institutions in the city that want to set up engineering institutes but huge land required is a hindrance. As a result there have been no new engineering colleges in the city since 2005.
Currently there are 48 engineering colleges affiliated to the University of Mumbai. Of there 22 are located in south Mumbai and suburbs. These colleges cater only to 8000 students.
Recently in a meeting on Reforms in AICTE, the land requirement was reduced from 3 acres to 2.5 in megacities and in metros 5 to 4 acres. But on Saturday at the 75 year celebration of the Kandivali Education Society, Sibal said that it will be further reduced.
“We have taken a decision to change AICTE norms and reduce the 2.5 acre requirement before the next year,” said Sibal. He did not elaborate on how much it will be reduced to.
Experts said that another reduction in land requirements might be detrimental.
“I hope the government would first discuss on what grounds it wants to change the policy,” said an AICTE official.
This decision is a boon for several institutions that have been waiting to expand such as Kandivali Education Society.
“We have a school, junior and degree college and have been waiting to add a management and engineering college but this 2.5 acre requirement is a hindrance,” said Rajnikant Ghelani, honorary joint secretary , KES.
“We have enough space for the required infrastructure because the state allows an FSI of 4 for educational institutions. This will also give us enough space for future expansion.”
Criticising the university and college system in the country, Sibal said universities should focus on research and not be bogged down by conducting exams for its affiliated colleges.
He said for every million people in the Scandinavian countries, around 6,000 do research, while the number is 4,000 in the US.
“In India, however, for every million people, only 156 do research. We need to change this. We are a poor nation because we don’t believe in creating wealth via ideas. That’s why I tell the IITs to concentrate on (producing) doctorates and post-doctorates and all of them are moving in that direction. We should, hopefully, be able to double our research output in years to come,” he said.