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

600 students from Puri area come out in support of Vedanta University

Following is from a report in Orissadiary.com. (I am copying this verbatim. But please visit the original news site and support its sponsors. The picture is from tathya.in)

Puri: A huge rally supporting the Vedanta University and demanding its immediate establishment has been organized today by the  student community of Puri district , here at Puri town. Over 600 students from various colleges of Puri district, under the banner of Youth and Student Forum, Puri (Yuba Chhatra Sangha) came together and staged the rally demanding the establishment of the proposed University. After a peaceful rally, the students submitted a memorandum addressed to the President of India through the Collector, Puri, urging her to take concrete steps for the establishment of the proposed Vedanta University in their region.

The 2 hour peaceful rally started at around 10.30 am from the VIP Road, Puri and ended at the Puri Collector’s office where they handed over the memorandum signed by over 400 students from 8 colleges/educational institutions of Puri district including SCS College, Puri; Suraj Mahal Saha college, Puri; Government Women’s College, Puri; ADM College, Brahmagiri; Delanga College; Sakhigopal College; ITI, Puri, etc. On behalf of the Collector, the Sub-Collector, Puri received the memorandum from the students. Out of the 600 students who actively participated in the rally, 100 were girls.

The President of the youth forum, Mr Bipin Bihari Mishra and its Secretary Mr Atmaram Pandey, have given a detailed report on the need of Vedanta University in the area in the memorandum that was signed by over 400 students from different colleges of the region, clearly mentioning the name of their college, their class and roll number. In the memorandum, the students have spelled out the various reasons for which they demand the early establishment of the Vedanta University. The main reason is that the University will provide opportunity of world class higher education and high end research in several academic

disciplines at one place. Such an educational opportunity would also open up several avenues of employment in the country and abroad. This will be over and above the thousands of employment opportunities that the University itself can provide during its building phase and later on.

“A world-class university with research focus is a much needed thing in the area and Orissa at large. Thousands of people from the area will get direct and indirect employment opportunities with the establishment of this Vedanta University and it will also give opportunity to the students of Puri and Orissa to have world-class higher education at their doorstep. And hence, the government should take concrete steps for its establishment,” the memorandum says. Mr Mishra and Mr Pandey mentioned in the memorandum that even the National Knowledge Commission has recommended the establishment of more multidisciplinary universities like Vedanta University in Orissa and elsewhere in the country.

“While a world-class University is coming up in our area that will change the fate of our students and youth, some people with their vested interests are opposing it with baseless allegations,” they added.

1 comment December 6th, 2009

Vedanta University – Finally locals speaking their mind

Following is an article written by respected (I respect him a lot) columnist Sharat Kumar Rout. I found it at http://www.orissadiary.com/ShowOriyaColumn.asp?id=15350.



Vedanta University in Orissa: A victim of selfish politicking

Sharat Kumar Rout

Recently, the central team of a political party visited the Vedanta University project site near Puri and participated in a meeting of the group opposed to the project. The team leaders flayed the BJD government of Orissa to their hearts’ content and declared their firm opposition to the University project. They criticised the state government vehemently for giving away ‘prime agricultural land’ at ‘throw-away’ prices for the proposed University, expressed ‘shock’ at selling of Lord Jagannath’s land for the same purpose and also questioned the very logic behind establishment of a world class University in the Puri-Konark area. Well, they came, they saw and went away happily, believing perhaps that they conquered too. But, apart from providing some grist for the media mill, the whole exercise has gained nothing for the party concerned. What actually has come to fore is its glaring double standards. Inviting this mega University project to Orissa in 2006 was the decision of the erstwhile coalition Government in which three important Ministers, namely, law, Revenue and Higher Education, were from the said political party. Obviously, departments under these three Ministers played a very proactive role as far as the University MOU and the related matters were concerned. For all one knows, these particular Ministers were the main votaries of the University project. The central team of this party is surely not unaware of this fact. But now, because of the political dynamics before and after the last election, the party is no longer in the Government and so, it has just decided to play the role of the opposition to the hilt! This, among other things, clearly underscores the overly political nature of the opposition to Vedanta University project.

If one closely follows the anti-Vedanta University opponents and their modus operandi, it will be apparent that out of the 18 revenue villages coming within the proposed University site, only one particular group of people belonging to a particular village has been at the forefront. That they were never against the University project at the beginning and have been brainwashed by some local politicians to form an antagonist group, is also common knowledge. But this anti-Vedanta University group and its local political leaders have been emboldened over the last two years, because of the sustained support of different political parties, groups and personalities who, for various reasons, are opposed to the Naveen Pattnaik- led Government of Orissa. These political vested interests have naturally been able to create a whole lot of hype and hoopla about an anti-Vedanta University ‘movement’ and this, in turn, has been occupying so much of media space and time The usual shouting brigade consisting of the foreign-funded NGOs, their high-flying activists and the celebrity ambassadors they manage to rope in, has only made matters worse. Irrespective of the merit or propriety of the project opponents’ remonstrations, they succeed in creating or increasing doubt in public mind. The intelligentsia is also easily swayed by the media hype, more so because, in these stressful times no one practically has the time or inclination to be properly informed or think about any particular issue no matter how important it is for the society or the country at large. The cumulative result is that fear, suspicion or anxiety of the local community, whose life will be affected directly or indirectly by the project, is intensified creating more elbow-room for further politicking and the project work is delayed.

It is not to say that the people of the project area do not have any genuine grievances. But, surely there are ways and means of taking care of the grievances without stopping the project work. Besides, if the compensation package for land acquisition and other benefits to be  made available to the land losers as per the R&R policy are dispassionately analysed, one can very well see that the possible pros far outweigh the cons. And, it will also be clear that most of the allegations of the project opponents are unfounded and unreal. It is high time that the intelligentsia, the youth, the student community and especially, the impartial opinion makers, shunned the shenanigans of the self-serving politicians and raised their voice in favour of the early establishment of a world class University in our state. It is learnt that an IIT could not be established in our state in the 60’s, due to the lack of foresight of our political class and the decision makers. Now, after more than four decades, one IIT has come to us. If we let go an opportunity like the Vedanta University now, perhaps we will never get another in the next hundred years.

[Sharat Kumar Rout, columnist, cell No: 9337369448, Maytree Enclave,Naharakanta,Bhubaneswar.]

 


There is also another recent article by Swati. It is at http://www.merinews.com/article/bjps-dissembling-policy-on-vedanta-raises-eyebrows/15787962.shtml. Although I mostly agree with her point of view, all her write-ups in Merinews have been about Vedanta University. 

 

November 13th, 2009

Samaja op-ed in support of Vedanta University

1 comment October 22nd, 2009

Samaja op-ed by Kabi Mishra in support of Vedanta University

Finally someone comes out and openly writes in favour of Vedanta University in the local papers. Its high time someone did that.

Given below is the article by retired Utkal University Professor Nabakishore Mahalik on August 27th that the above writer mentions.

1 comment September 24th, 2009

Sambada on Vedanta University and not messing up an opportunity that may not come again in 100-200 years

Thank you Sambada.

Following is a translation of the initial part of the article:

Today in the state assembly two private university bills will be discussed; Sri Sri University bill and Vedanta University bill. Orisssa’s higher education future rests on these two bills. In regards to the first university bill, so far, there has not been any controversy, but for whatever reason the proposed Vendanta University is embroiled in controversies. Opposition to land acquisition for the project, court entanglement, reports in police station, and similar issues have tied down the project. For two years there has not been much progress in the ground. The situation is such that like the Singur Nano project in West Bengal there is apprehension that this world class project may withdraw from Orissa. If that happens Orissa’s dream of being a top higher education location in the world will be shattered. In the past several assembly members have opposed the Vedanta University project. The reason for their opposition! Doubt. There is opposition to the land acquisition in the proposed project area. Few days back there was a struggle in that area. The reason for that was also doubts. May be Vedanta will withdraw from the university project after acquiring the land; May be the people will lose their livelihood; May be Vedanta will renege on its obligations; several such doubts are fueling the opposition. The opposers say that Vedanta plans to loot Orissa in the name of the university. But what is the basis of these doubts and it is not clear how does one loot by establishing a university. This project does not need mines or forests; the government does not need to spend a paisa. It only needs to help in providing land where 15000 crores is aimed to be invested to establish a world class university. Eminent educationalists says that such opportunities come once in 100 or 200 years. If such small issues are used to throw away this opportunity then Orissa’s higher education aim for the next century will definitely become unsure. In reality, states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are eying the Vedanta University project. The land acquisition problem in Orissa has resulted in Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh sending proposals to Vedanta. But planning and design of the project has progressed so far that Vedanta does not want to leave Orissa. Vedanta Chief Anil Agarwal has given $1 Billion (Rs 5000 crores) of his own money to the project and has mentioned this to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The main built-up area of the university will be spread across 2000 acres. The Ayres St. Gross company of the US has designed the master plan of this university. This company has developed the building design for many top universities of the world. Vedanta has decided to establish a medical college and hospital in the first phase.  This college and hospital to be built in 34 acres has been designed by the world famous firm  Perkins and Will. The medical college program will be designed and its equipments will be supplied by Jensen partners. The curriculum of the various colleges of the university and the kind of faculty to hire for such programs have been discussed in conferences organized by Vedanta in Paris and Washington. After all these to doubt that Vedanta will cheat and go away is baseless. Eminent NRO professor CRB says that losing Vedanta will be like kicking a humongous wealth. With IIT, NISER and AIIMS being established Bhubaneswar, if Vedanta University is established it will make the Puri-Bhubaneswar-Cuttack area an heaven for high quality higher education and Orissa’s place in the world will rise significantly. No other industrialist in Orissa has spent that much money on education. If Vedanta wants to spend 15000 crores, why should we throw it away? The top educational institutions in India, the IITs and the IIMs rank 300-400 in the world. Vedanta aims to be in the top 50. He says, if that happnes Orissa will be among the tops in the country. The government should take meausers to resolve the issues related to land acquisition in a war footing. For such a university the sacrifice of the local people should be adequately respected and compensated by the government, he adds.

7 comments December 6th, 2008

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


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