Vedanta University links categorized to various topics

To make it easier to find various information regarding Vedanta University I have categorized various articles/reports on them. Hope this will be useful in seeing the real value of Vedanta University and convincing people of Odisha that we must thwart the BJP and Congress efforts to take Vedanta University to Karnataka and Andhra respectively.

  1. Must see youtube video on the story of Vedanta University.

  1. Vedanta University Home Page
  2. Initial blog to watch the progress of Vedanta University
  3. Petitions to thwart attempts to take Vedanta University away from Odisha
    1. Petition to the Honorable Governor of Orissa to give assent to the Vedanta University bill passed by Orissa assembly in July 2009 (more than a year back)
    2. Petition to the CM to seek the PM’s help regarding Vedanta University
    3. Petition to Delhi to stop putting hurdles on the Vedanta University project and to facilitate its establishment
  4. Categorizing the articles on Vedanta University in this blog
    1. Accolades for its campus master plan
    2. Ads
    3. Anil Agarwal
    4. Appeal to Anil Agarwal
    5. Architects and Construction Contracts
    6. Beyond the Puri main campus
    7. BJP attempt to steal it to Karnataka
      1. Orissa BJP opposes Karnataka BJP lures
    8. Congress attempt to steal it to Andhra
      1. Andhra Science City plan: They have had plans like the Vedanta University township for a long time. So they are doing their best to take Vedanta University from Odisha.
      2. Congress ruled Andhra’s overture
      3. Environment minister Jairam Ramesh, Congress MP from Andhra, creates hurdles
      4. Orissa Congress opposes Andhra Congress lures
    9. CSR in Puri
    10. Honorable Odisha governor (a former member of Congress) has not signed the Vedanta University bill which was passed in July 2009
    11. International media coverage
    12. Land Acquisition and Land Use (Why so much land?)
    13. Medical College progress
    14. Pictures, master plan layouts, Videos
    15. Provisions for Orissa students
    16. Rally, petitions and articles in its support
    17. Rebuttals to opposition arguments and unsubstantiated rumours
    18. Slowing brain drain
    19. Vedanta University Bill
    20. What does $1 Billion buy? What is once in a century opportunity?

3 comments September 13th, 2010

Another article by Sambada on Vedanta university leaving Odisha

The following is from http://orissasambad.com/news_article.php?id=34016. It states that the Chief Minister did bring up the issue of Vedanta University with the environment ministry. That is a good first step. But more needs to be done. Watch out this space for more plan of action. For now, you may still

3 comments August 24th, 2010

Odisha government’s time line on Vedanta University land acquisition process

Following is from a report from tathya.in.

Replying the adjournment motion on Vedanta University in the Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) here on 26 June, Minister said that before acquiring the land for the proposed Vedanta varsity project at Puri, the Vedanta Foundation was turned to a Public Limited Company.

Before approving for land acquisition the Department of Higher Education asked Vedanta authorities to turn Anil Agarwal Foundation (AAF) as Public Limited Company.

On 6 November 2006, authorities of AAF applied to Government of India for conversion of Private Limited Company to Public one.

On 22 November, 2006 the Regional Director, Ministry of Company Affairs, Western Region, Mumbai ordered the conversion is granted subject to compliance of condition required for change of structure under various sections of the Company act.

On 23 November, 2006, Anil Agarwal Foundation held its extra ordinary General Body meeting and adopted resolution for compliance of the conditions and converted the Memorandum and Article of Association from a Private to Public Limited Company.

On 24 November, 2006 AAF informed the State Government in this regard.

Quoting the recent Supreme Court judgement, Minister said it is permissible under law.

On 29 November, 2006, the Department of Higher Education informed the Department of Revenue for acquiring the land in favour of AAF for the university project.

On 13 December, 2006, Department of Revenue notified the same for land acquisition.

So no wrong was done on the above matter, reiterated Mr.Mohanty.

See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/4196 for our earlier discussion on this.

Add comment June 26th, 2010

Vedanta University land acquisition controversy and Honorable Lokpal Justice Patra’s constructive recommendations

Update on April 6 2010: Reader and commentator Debi Prasanna Sarangi sent us the following screen capture that shows Anil Agarwal Foundation (the promoters of Vedanta University) to be a public company. But it does not show when exactly it became a public company. Regardless, an important part of the Honorable Lokpal’s conditions (see the sentence in bold red in the first paragraph below the image)  seems to be satisfied now.


Following is an excerpt from an article in Economic Times.

… Acting on a petition filed by Dwaraka Mohan Mishra, a trade union leader, the Lok Pal last week had asked the state government to submit a report within three months after complying with the recommendations given by him in this case. The Lok Pal has also recommended a moratorium on the project till the Anil Agarwal Foundation complies with the legal provisions pointed out by the Ministry of Company Affairs for conversion of its status from private to public company. 

Legally the state government could acquire land for the Anil Agarwal Foundation if the Foundation was a public company. This has been the consistent view of the Law Department of Government of Orissa. The then Orissa chief secretary approved the proposal for land acquisition in the instant case on the 12th December 2006. Accordingly lands belonging to private persons as well as to Shri Jagannath Temple were gradually acquired. But no previous sanction of the state government was taken before acquiring the land belonging to Shri Jagannath Temple though previous sanction was mandatory as per Section 16 of Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1954, which has embroiled Anil Agarwal Foundation into fresh trouble, officials said here.

Justice Patra has made it clear that if the Jagannath Temple Act and the Land Acquisition Act have not been complied with, no temple land could be handed over to the Foundation for the proposed University. Besides, he has recommended that the state government should work out a scheme for phase-wise delivery of land required for the university project. He also suggested that the vigilance cell should monitor the progress of the project and see that land is acquired and delivered in a phase-wise manner to the foundation so that it is not misused.

Justice Patra has asked the state government to ensure payment of adequate compensation by the Foundation to those affected by the project.

No matter how important Vedanta University could be or is for Odisha, all applicable laws need to be followed. Thus I agree with the Honorable Lokpal Justice Patra’s recommendations.  I also like his constructive approach underlined above.

Following is a report from Sambada that includes a response from the Vedanta University officials on this controversy.

There are various other reports, including by Mr. Prasanna Mishra (whom I respect a lot) and in tathya.in. Mr. Mishra’s report gives a time line and the tathya.in report includes Vedanta University’s clarification. Having gone through all that at this point my thoughts are:

  • The Honorable Lokpal probably had the most information; he heard the government officials’ take on the issue and as a retired justice he knows what is legal and what is not and what is important and what is not. So I am supportive of his recommendations.
  • However, it seems like (based on the tathya article and the Sambada report) the Honorable Lokpal did not ask Vedanta University for their side of the issue. (I assume that was not a legal requirement.) But it is possible that some of the issues that are raised (such as the status of the Anil Agarwal foundation) are already resolved. (The Sambada and tathya articles suggest that.)
  • I am especially thankful to the Honorable Lokpal for his constructive recommendations. Vedanta University is important for Odisha, but so are the people and their sacrifices. So it is important to have Vedanta University in Odisha so as to raise Odisha from the bottom of every parameter and instead make it a knowledge hub of the world and also address the higher education concerns of India; but at the same time it is equally important that the people and their sacrifices do not go to waste and their interests and rights are adequately protected. The Honorable Lokpal’s recommendation, as reported by the Economic Times article, seems to take care of both of the above aspects.

5 comments April 5th, 2010

The land use plan of Vedanta University – Why 6000 acres?

Often people question about why Vedanta University needs 6000 acres. I have given my perspective on this in details in the page http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1696 . The short answer is:

  • 6000 acres is not just for the university. It includes several townships.
  • The townships are crucial to make Vedanta University competitive with world class universities, some of which have budgets of $3 billion per year.
  • The township plan is not something hidden, but clearly mentioned in Vedanta University web pages at http://vedanta.edu.in/ .

In my previous article I made some guess regarding the area of the university. The following page from a draft of the Vedanta University masterplan gives the accurate numbers. If one looks at just university, the land use is actually very good. It uses 780+240 acres for a university planned for 100,000 students.

The developed area in the above plan is only 4300 acres. The following two pages from the 250+ page master plan draft emphasize that the remaining area of about 2000 acres is for greenery.

9 comments August 13th, 2009

NKC would like the National Universities to have extra land for future income generation

(Thanks to Abi for the pointer.)

Following is excerpted from a report in India Today.

… The academic-turned prime minister chose to call them ‘World Class Universities’, sexing up the comeget-me factor. “These universities should focus on international standards of excellence and be rated among the top institutions in the world. They must become the launching pads for our entry into the knowledge economy,” Manmohan said at a function held to celebrate 150 years of the University of Mumbai in June 2007.

… The chances of missing the February deadline to pass the bill in the short session of Parliament are high and the Government is looking at the possibility of pushing it through an ordinance.

…The UGC is of the view that the universities should be run by the government and wants to underplay the role of private players and corporates.

The ministry on its part is ready to open it up to “creditable private organisations” and offer them public land. The Knowledge Commission has a different take.

“Since public finance is an integral constituent of universities worldwide, most of the new universities shall need significant initial financial support from the Government. Each university may be endowed with a substantial allocation of public land, in excess of its spatial requirements,” says Sam Pitroda, chairman, NKC.

The excess land can be a subsequent source of income generation, he says. Exceptions need to be made in existing income tax laws to encourage large endowments.

… The NKC in its letter to the UGC chairman has also suggested that the syllabi should be revised every year to keep up with the changes and current developments in various disciplines. “Departments that do not update their syllabi for two consecutive years shall be asked to provide justifications,” says the letter. Another contentious issue is that of fixing fees and granting autonomy to the proposed universities.

The commission had envisaged that these universities shall have the autonomy to set student fee levels and tap other sources for generating funds such as industry collaborations and overseas operations. The autonomy of fees and greater autonomy for each university is a strict no-no for both the ministry as well as the UGC. Prompted by incisive memos from the Prime Minister’s Office, which is attuned with the views of the NKC, the ministry is planning to prepare a bill with critical minimum provisions, thereby enabling autonomy and innovation without going through a parliamentary process at a later stage. Otherwise, it will have to resort to the ordinance route, bypassing Parliament.

… As a first step, the ministry has decided to do away with the tag of World Class University, an idea which has won it the NKC’s applause . The Act will now be termed the National Universities System Act instead of the World Class University System Act.

Hope the people who wonder about Vedanta University’s land requirement will get a better understanding of it from the NKC’s suggestion regarding providing excess land to the proposed National Universities.

2 comments January 26th, 2009

My perspective on Vedanta University

I have been watching and collecting various reports on Vedanta University since an MOU was signed about it with the Orissa government. (See my collection here and here and also Vedanta University’s web page.)

After reading about the forced stoppage of the initiation of the building of Vedanta University, I thought I would write about my perspective on Vedanta University.

May I request you to bear with me on my thoughts on Vedanta University and read till the end of this document, even if you partly or fully disagree with me.

I think Vedanta University is a unique opportunity for Orissa and if we mess it up we will regret for ever and our future generation will not forgive us for this.

 
Why do I say that?

First I would urge you to watch the following two short videos and an audio interview available in the web:

 
 I know many of you have a lot of concerns and red flags about this endeavor and some of these concerns have been expressed in various Orissa newspapers. Let me try to address some of them based on my knowledge.

 Q 1: If many top universities are built on much less land, such as Harvard University, which is built only on 380 acres, why does Vedanta University need so much land. (It has now come down from 8000 acres to 6270 acres, but that is still quite large. 6270 acres is 25.374 sq km)

 Answer 1: Let us look at the layout below.

 The whole thing is 8000 acres. With the airport part gone it is 6270 acres. The ellipse like main university  (see picture below) part looks to be about 2000 acres and comparable to the size of IIT Kharagpur which is of 2100 acres but has only 6625 students . Note that IIT Bhubaneswar is being given 890 acres. So Vedanta University’s 2000 acres for 100,000 students is a very good use of land. Please watch the youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3B7L1S_MAY&fmt8 to get an idea how the buildings are proposed to be quite close to each other with very creative landscaping.

 Note that Harvard University with 380 acres supports 19,955 students. So Vedanta University proposing 5 times Harvard’s land for 5 times Harvard’s acreage is not unreasonable.

 Q 2: So if the main part of the Vedanta university is only about 2000 acres, what happens to the remaining 6270-2000= 4270 acres.

Answer 2: As is evident from the picture in the previous page there are 8 townships planned for those.

Q 3: If only 2000 acres goes to the university and 4270 acres goes to the townships, why not just focus on the university and ignore the township?

Answer 3: The townships are very important for making Vedanta University a top university at the level of Stanford and Harvard. Following is the reasoning behind it.

From Harvard University book at http://www.provost.harvard.edu/institutional_research/factbook.php ,

its income and expenses are as follows:

Income (2006-07): 3.21 Billion USD

Expenses (2006-07): 3.17 Billion USD

Total Endowment (June 30, 2007): 34.912 Billion USD

From Stanford University annual report at

http://www.stanford.edu/dept/businessaffairs/cgi-bin/downloadpdf_v3.php?file=AnnualReport_2007.pdf

its income and expenses for 2006-07 are as follows.

Income (2006-07): 3.2 Billion

Expenses (2006-07): 2.9 Billion USD

Total endowment (Aug 31, 2007): 17.2 Billion USD

In India the operating expenses for IISc Bangalore, the maximum among the IITs and IISc, in the last budget (item 41 of the Higher education budget) is 130 (plan) + 91 (non-plan) = Rs 221 crores. Rs 70 crore of that is for enhancing the number of students to account for the OBC quota.

For operating Vedanta University at the world class level a lot of money will be required. My guess would be that it will be somewhere in between the expenses at Harvard-Stanford ($2.9-$3.17 Billion = about Rs 15,000 crores) and at IISc Bangalore (221 crores). A good guess is that it will be around Rs 1000-1500 crores.

Mr. Agarwal has only pledged 1 Billion USD and most of it will go into just construction. The student tuition fees will not be enough to cover the Rs 1000-1500 crores needed to run the university.

In case of Harvard only 20% comes from student tuition and the student tuition mostly ranges from 30,000 USD/year to 40,000 USD/year. (This is Rs. 15 lakh/year – Rs. 20 lakh/year)

Vedanta University will not be able to charge that outside of medical students.

So there has to be other sources of money beyond the student tuition.

Since Vedanta University does not have an endowment, where will the additional money come from?

My guess is that it will come from the townships in the remaining 4270 acres.

Thus, I consider the townships to be crucial in achieving the dream of making Vedanta University a top world class university. (However we need to make sure that the money earned from the townships is put into an endowment for Vedanta University.) 

If there was no township, I would be very suspicious of Vedanta University’s claim that it will be a top world class university, as then it is not clear where the money would come from. (In this regard one must note that the best private institute in India, BITS Pilani, is nowhere in the world rankings. For that matter the IITs are quite low in the world rankings. What Vedanta University is aspiring is way above any existing institute in India and the existing financial model in private institutes such as BITS Pilani will not achieve what Vedanta University is aiming for.)

Q 4: So you are saying township is a crucial aspect of Vedanta University and 4270 acres goes towards that and only 2000 acres goes towards Vedanta University. Why do not then the Vedanta University officials make the township part clear?
 
Answer 4: They have.

If one goes to their web page they clearly say: "The campus will be developed in a phased manner to nurture a vibrant university township with a population of more than 500,000."

Q 5: Is there a top university which is similar to Vedanta University + associated townships in terms of land requirements.

Answer 5: Yes. Stanford University is made of 8180 acres (33.1 sq km) and does host a research park and other developments (including a mall), but not all of the land is currently built up though.

Other universities with large acreage include University of Michigan (20,965 acres), Texas A & M University (5,200 acres), and Ohio State University (15,893 acres).

Q 6: Is Vedanta University’s goal of 100,000 students reasonable.

Answer 6: Following are some large universities in the USA and their student size in Autumn 2007 as obtained from http://www.osu.edu/osutoday/stuinfo.php#enroll_large .

 
 
Student size
Times rank
SJT Rank
The Ohio State University

52,568                

121
62
Arizona State University, Main Campus
51,481
260
93
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
50,833
87
28
University of Florida
50,576
165
58
University of Texas, Austin
50,201
70
39
Texas A&M University, College Station
46,542
137
88
Michigan State University
46,045
203
83
Penn State University
43,232
105
42
University of Wisconsin, Madison
42,041
55
17
University of Illinois, Urbana
41,135
71
26
 

They are all pretty good universities, all of them ranked in the top 100 in the SJT ranking.

Q 7: How do we know that the University is not a ruse and Mr. Agarwal just wants the land?

Answer 7: Mr. Agarwal’s net worth in early 2008 was $6 Billion.(see http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/10/billionaires08_Anil-Agarwal_WDNS.html )

 

His net worth in 2006 was $2.8 Billion. (see http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/WDNS.html )

Now what is the most important asset of a rich man? His reputation in the eye of the world.

Mr. Agarwal has told the whole world about his university.

Articles praising his pledge to donate $1 Billion towards Vedanta University have appeared in major national and international venues such as:

Time, USA –  http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/time100powergivers/article/0,28804,1616375_1615711_1615671,00.html

Economist – http://www.economist.com/people/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9539815

Independent, UK – http://news.independent.co.uk/education/higher/article3045374.ece

Forbes, USA – http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/10/billionaires08_Anil-Agarwal_WDNS.html

Forbes Asia – http://www.forbes.com/lists/2008/56/biz_philanthropy08_Anil- Agarwal_WDNS.html

PBS TV USA – http://www.charlierose.com/guests/anil-agarwal

He has met the Prime Minister of India and told him about his pledge to donate $1 Billion for the university.

I do not believe that after so much publicity Mr. Agarwal will back out, as he will lose face and that is the most important thing for a person of his net worth. (It should be noted that many billionaires, especially in the US, do make huge donations. Bill Gates donation of tens of billions USD and Warren Buffet’s donation of about $30 Billion are exemplars. In higher education, Leland Stanford established Stanford University and Andrew Carnegie established Carnegie Mellon University; both top universities now. )

However, if the current opposition continues, it is very much possible that at some point Mr. Agarwal may get fed up with the hurdles created by some people of Orissa and will move Vedanta University to a state (such as Gujarat, Andhra or Karnataka) where he will be welcomed.

Q 8: How come Gujarat, Andhra and Karnataka did not woo him earlier.

Answer 8: I do not know why. May be at that time they did not take him seriously and Orissa did. But now after the design of the university and lot of other groundwork has been done, they will woo him like anything.

In my opinion, Orissa lucked out that it signed the MOU in 2006. It also helped that Mr. Agarwal has other business in Orissa. But then many other companies, private and public have business in Orissa. How much have they given to Orissa in comparison? A good example is 12 crores by Tata Steel for the Inst. of Math and application, and few other smaller donations. Compare that to $1 Billion which is now Rs 5000 crores.

Going back to Gujarat, Andhra and Karnataka, we know what Gujarat did with respect to Nano. If given a small opening they will do the same with respect to Vedanta University.

Andhra Pradesh is in the process of developing Odyssey Science city with an area of 65,000 acres. The first phase is of 10,000 acres. Few months back Andhra CM signed a deal whereby APIC will acquire the land.(See http://www.hindu.com/2008/01/09/stories/2008010958760800.htm )  Given a chance Andhra Pradesh will pick up Vedanta University in a heartbeat. I am told that they already contacted Vedanta officials regarding that.

In Karnataka, the SAC-PM Chairperson Prof. C N R Rao is jealous of Vedanta University and is exhorting the Bangalore based IT companies to make similar contributions. In an Outlook article (see http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20071217&fname=Cover+Story+%28F%29&sid=2 ) he was quoted saying:

 

IT people have a responsibility that they are yet to fulfil. If they’re making so much money, why shouldn’t they create an outstanding private university equivalent to Stanford or Harvard? Had they done something like that they would have compensated for the other problems they have created. If IT people are making money, what do I get out of it, unless I am employed in Infosys with Narayana Murthy? The trouble is, we have given them a lot, but have got nothing in return.

 

Q 9: How does Vedanta University help Orissa and India?

Answer 9: Let consider the world ranking of universities. 

In the Times ranking at http://www.topuniversities.com/ the top ranked universities in the world and the top ranked universities in India and China are as follows:

 
1. Harvard, USA
2. Yale, USA
3. Cambridge, UK
4. Oxford, UK
 

154. IIT Delhi

174. IIT Bombay

242. IIT Kanpur

274. Delhi University

303. IIT Madras

50. Peking University, China
56. Tsinghua University, China
113. Fudan University, China
141. Univ of Sc. & Tech, China
143. Nanjing University, China
144. Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ, China

In the SJT ranking at http://www.arwu.org/rank2008/Top500_EN(by%20rank).pdf  the top ranked universities and the top ranked universities in India and China are as follows:

 
1. Harvard
2. Stanford
3. Berkeley
4. Cambridge
5. MIT

303-401 IISc Bangalore, IIT Kharagpur

201-302 Nanjing University, Peking University, Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ, Tsinghua University, Univ of Sc. & Tech, Zhejiang University

As the above shows, Indian Universities including IITs and IISc are way behind the top universities of the world. They are even much behind the top universities in China.

So what Vedanta is aspiring is to be a university ranked in the top 50 of these lists, if not in the top 25. If that is achieved it will have a huge impact on India, and not just Orissa.

There will be also a lot of impact on Orissa.

 

a. It will pull up the institutions near Vedanta University such as IIT Bhubaneswar, NISER

Bhubaneswar, the proposed world class central university (WCCU) in Bhubaneswar, IIIT Bhubaneswar, and even Utkal, Ravenshaw, OUAT, etc. The reason it will pull up the other universities is that many otherwise great professors, who will miss out getting a job at Vedanta, would like to be nearby Vedanta and thus would take a position in one of the above universities in the area. The reason they would like to be near Vedanta is that being nearby will allow them to collaborate with the faculty at Vedanta. For the same reason, many of the Ph.Ds coming out of Vedanta Universities would prefer to stay in the area universities.

Note that without Vedanta, IIT Bhubaneswar may end up among the bottom IITs, NISER Bhubaneswar may end up among the bottom IISER/NISERs and the WCCU Bhubaneswar may end up among the bottom WCCUs. This is evident from the admission numbers of IIT Bhubaneswar this year. In terms of student preferences it was only better than IIT Patna. See http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1303 . This will not improve easily.

Moreover the existing IITs and central universities have been there for years and are established in terms of their infrastructure and they also get a lot of support (including cash donations) from their alumni. The new institutions in Bhubaneswar (IIT, NISER, WCCU) will normally take multiple decades to get to that level.

But with Vedanta University nearby, the situation would change; IIT Bhubaneswar could become among the top IITs; Same about NISER Bhubaneswar and WCCU Bhubaneswar. In other words, the establishment of Vedanta University has the possibility of turning the Puri-Bhuaneswar-Cuttack area a bigger knowledge hub than Pune and Bangalore.

b. With a top IIT, NISER and WCCU near Vedanta, the whole area from Cuttack-Puri will become a huge knowledge hub. Orissa will be able to go much beyond attracting WIPRO, TCS, Infosys, Satyam to attracting companies like Google, IBM, Microsoft etc. Currently such companies come mostly to Bangalore.

c. Recently Mr. Agarwal said that (see http://www.orissalinks.com/archives/1105 ) they will work towards giving 25% seats to the students from Orissa who will be taken on merit basis. This means besides Vedanta University, they will invest in schools so that the above happens. They already have started in that direction by enrolling children of the area in DAV schools and funding their educational cost.

d. Vedanta University is starting off with a hospital and medical college. This will definitely benefit the locals.

e. Another way to look at Vedanta University’s impact is as follows.

It has been said that 3 Billion USD will be spent in making Vedanta University out of which one Billion USD will given by Mr. Agarwal. One Billion USD is Rs. 5000 crores. Recently the central government has announced IITs, IISERs, world class central universities, etc. and    the budget for making each of them has been announced. See   http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=37684 . The budget of a new IIT is 760 crores, new IISER is 500 crores, AIIMS is 332 crores, IIM is 210 crores, and world class central university is 720 crores. They add up to 2522 crores. In other words, with 5000 crores one can almost make 2 new IITs, 2 new IISERs, 2 new AIIMS, 2 new IIMs and 2 new world class central universities. And that is  what Orissa will lose out if it throws out Vedanta University.

 

Q 10. I am opposed to Vedanta’s mining activities. How can I support Vedanta University?

Answer 10: Even if one is opposed to Vedanta’s mining activities, he/she should not oppose having Vedanta University in Orissa as opposing Vedanta University for not liking its mining operation is like "cutting of the nose to spite the face."

 

Q 11. The MOU was signed in 2006. What has happened since then to indicate that Vedanta University is serious?

Answer 11: I do not know all that has happened, but let me elaborate on the design and architectural front. (In addition they have made progress in land acquisition, hired people in implementing R & R, hired architects and engineers etc.)

They have hired a top architecture company in the USA who has a track record of participating and shaping almost all major universities in the USA. The company is Ayers Saint Gross. Its web site is http://www.asg-architects.com/ . Following are some links to their web pages which refers to Vedanta University.

The design of the master plan of Vedanta University has been featured in many US architecture venues and it has also won some awards. Following are some links on that.

Some pictures of the designs are at http://chronicle.com/media/flash/v53/i45/vedanta/ and videos are at :

 

Besides the above architecture company, the other companies that Vedanta has hired include:

Most recently, they were ready to start construction but were turned away by about 500 people.

So that is part of their current status.

In summary, Vedanta University has the potential to turn the area from Cuttack-Puri into a bigger knowledge center than Bangalore and Pune and perhaps into the biggest knowledge center (with associate knowledge companies such as Google research, Microsoft Research, IBM research etc.) in India. As a result, it can completely change Orissa. (Imagine the impact if Bangalore was in Orissa.)

We should not play politics with it; otherwise like Tata Motors moving from Singur to Gujarat, Vedanta University will move to another state and for centuries our descendants will blame us for missing an opportunity that may come once in many centuries.

 

 

14 comments November 8th, 2008

Land acquisition status of Vedanta University

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

The total land needed for the Rs 15,000-crore university is 6,000 acres. The company has to date acquired 3,155 acres and taken possession of 2256.49 acres, which includes 385.15 acres of government land and 1871.34 acres of private land.

6 comments September 4th, 2008

Vedanta University current land acquisition of Jagannath trust land leads to 1 crore per annum for the temple

The following report in Sambada mentions that the 500 acres of Jagannath land that Vedanta University has so far acquired is leading to a corpus fund that will result in 1 crore per year for the Jagannath temple.  My understanding is that this land was  occupied by various people who did not contribute  much to the temple. Thus this seems like a win-win situation. Vedanta  University is in the process of acquiring an additional 846 acres land from the temple trust.

Following is an excerpt from a report in the Statesman.

The Jagannath Temple Administration is likely to earn at least Rs 1 crore per annum by way of interest against deposits made by Vedanta group of industries towards the temple land that it has acquired for the proposed world class university.

Company sources here said Vedanta has acquired around 500 acres of land in Nalihana, Gaindala panchayats for its proposed university. The administration of Jagannath Temple revealed that the land acquisition for the university has been conducted as per the norms of Land Acquisition Act-1894 and the company has paid more than the current market price. As of now the administration is getting more than Rs 8 lakh per month as interest from Rs 8.33 crore which has been kept as fixed deposit in the bank, claimed the company sources. The interest calculations work out to Rs 1 crore per annum, they added. While the administration has decided to acquire around 1,346 acres of land registered in the name of Jagannath Temple administration in Nalihana and Gaindala villages for the proposed Vedanta University, the acquisition process of 500 acres of land has been completed. The acquisition process for rest 800 acres of land is on.


Reliable sources said there is a proposal to seek Rs 2 lakh per acre for the land that is yet to be acquired.It may be noted here that prior to the land acquisition for the proposed project, the temple administration used to get virtually nothing from the land holding of the Lord.

Add comment April 11th, 2008

Details on Vedanta University’s land aquisition: Sambada

Add comment March 26th, 2008

More on Vedanta University’s R & R package

Following is an excerpt from a report in Pioneer.

As per the announcement, steps would be taken to provide a model housing project for each of the displaced families, employment facility for each of displaced family and direct, indirect employment to members of the project affected families.

It was also decided that compensation to the tune of Rs 1 lakh per acre would be given subject to minimum compensation of Rs 2 lakh per acre. This will be in addition to the statutory compensation, solatium and interest under the LA Act.

Occupiers of Lord Jagannath land shall be paid Rs 1 lakh per acre. Landless agricultural labourers will be suitably engaged as unskilled construction workers under the contractors till March 2010. In the event that the project authorities are not able to provide such employment to the willing persons, a subsistence allowance of Rs 1,500 per month to the each family shall be provided from the date of physical possession of land up to March 2010, The list of such beneficiaries shall be identified by a joint survey to be undertaken by the district administration and project proponent.

Those who will lose their coconut trees will also be adequately compensated.

A judicious and rightful decision would be taken on the rate of each tree. Steps would be taken for the release of water. Those students who will show interest to read in DAV School, Puri will be provided with that opportunity. The facilities would be provided from the next academic year. Vedanta authorities are also considering to provide Rs 300 more to those old people who are availing the old age pension. Those who are not getting the old age pension will be given Rs 500 per month.

Add comment March 25th, 2008

Forbes Asia lists Anil Agarwal among the world’s top altruists

Following is an excerpt from an article in Forbes Asia. (Hindustan Times reports on this.)

Pledged $1 billion in 2006 from his Anil Agarwal Foundation to set up Vedanta University. Envisions the school as an elite institution modeled on Stanford University and targeting the young Indians who now leave the country in droves to study overseas. Hopes it will boost the lagging economy of Orissa State, in eastern India, where it will be built on a 6,000-acre campus that will ultimately accommodate 100,000 students. Some 1,000 acres have been acquired so far—despite the opposition of locals—and the first batch of students is expected next year.

Add comment March 1st, 2008

Vedanta university aims to start in 2009 with research programs

Following is an excerpt from a report in New Indian Express.

The proposed Vedanta University is aiming to roll out its first course in 2009, if everything falls into place.

The varsity project, which envisages a whopping 100,000 students and 10,000 faculty members in a multi-disciplinary research-driven campus, has moved slower than expected but things now seem to be moving in the right direction.

Land acquisition has picked up and it has launched its rehabilitation and benefits plan.

“We plan to start the first course in engineering research in 2009. It will be a symbolic beginning and would be followed up by programmes in arts, science and medicine in the first phase,” Vedanta University Project CEO CV Krishnan told this paper on Thursday.

The varsity has started working on how to launch the engineering education. In this connection, a two-day workshop was organised at University of Pennsylvania where top deans and professors from across North America took part. According to Krishnan, the University will admit research students since research only can drive the varsity to ‘a different level altogether.’ The identified research areas will be wireless communication, material science, biotechnology, energy and infrastructure. By 2010, the University aims at admitting students into the entire gamut of disciplines. The varsity has already acquired 1,200 acre. The Phase I of the project could entail an investment of Rs 4,000 crore.

Add comment February 29th, 2008

Vedanta University officials talk with the locals regarding land acquisition: Kalinga Times and New Indian Express

See http://www.kalingatimes.com/orissa_news/news2/20080227-vedanta.htm for Kalinga Times’ report on this. Following are some excerpts:

Vice-president of the varsity project Ajit Kumar Samal announced that Vedanta would provide employment to all graduates of the area by the end of 2009 and run public schools to educate the students living in the villages coming under the project area.

Besides, it would operate door-to-door medical service for humans and for the livestocks in the area, he said.

Samal said job cards would be issued to all landless farmers who make out their livelihood by cultivating other’s land. This apart, scholarships would be granted to the meritorious students with special care to the girl students, he added.

A number of schools and colleges would be established for capacity building of the students of the area and all primary schools would have the mid-day meal service, Samal said.

… A special survey of the temple land measuring over a thousand acres under the acquisition process for the project would be conducted within 10 days to ascertain the status, Sarangi instructed the revenue officers present in the meeting.

… The District Rehabilitation and Periphery Development Advisory Committee meeting would be held on March 4 to settle the outlines and modalities for rehabilitation of the villagers likely to be displaced from their villages coming under the project area, the RDC announced.

Following is an excerpt from the report in the New Indian Express.

As per the package, an affected person would get ex gratia of Rs 1 lakh besides the government valuation of his land. That apart, he/she too will be entitled to a minimum compensation of Rs 2 lakh per acre. Besides, occupiers of Jagannath land would be given Rs 1 lakh per acre while compensation for encroachers of government land would be as per the Orissa Government’s new R&R Policy.

Add comment February 28th, 2008

Status of land acquisition for Vedanta University

Following is an excerpt from a report in Pioneer.

The State Government has so far been provided 1418.10 acre of land to the management of the upcoming Vedanta University near Puri. Out of this 264.27 acre are Government land and the rest 1153.83 acres of land are private land, said Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal.

In response to a question of BJD member Baidhar Mallick, Revenue Minister Samal said 1257 acres of land have been acquired from the 13 mouzas. "Government will acquire another 443.26 acre of government land and 4,288.37 acre of private lands for this purpose," he said. He further informed the House that 707.52 acre of lands and 5545.38 acres of private land private lands are there in the 18 mouza of this area.

Add comment February 20th, 2008

Vedanta University has acquired 775 acres of land: Sambada

Add comment October 17th, 2007

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