Chandy met Kapil Sibal on Monday to discuss proposal

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is likely to consider upgradation of Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) into an Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) under the 12 Five Year Plan.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who met MHRD Minister Kapil Sibal in New Delhi on Monday, expressed the UDF’s wish to convert Cusat into an IIEST.

Mr. Sibal had reportedly told the delegation that the proposal could be taken up for consideration under the 12 Plan along with the State’s long-pending demand for an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

Stating that he had not received any official information from New Delhi on Cusat’s upgradation, Education Minister P. K. Abdu Rabb told The Hindu that Kerala’s priority is to get an IIT. “We had submitted Cusat’s upgradation proposal before the Centre during the visit of the State Cabinet to New Delhi last year,” he said.

Cusat Vice-Chancellor Ramachandran Thekkedath said that he had not come across reports on MHRD’s plans to convert the university into an IIEST. “The Syndicate had earlier passed a resolution stating that the Union government should convert the university into a Central institute,” he said.

The Ministry had delayed the approval of the proposal after the previous LDF government conveyed its desire that the university should be upgraded into an IIT and not an IIEST.

A section of the teachers and employees had also opposed the Ministry's move to provide the framework of a National Institute of Technology for the proposed IIEST.

Faculty members, who opposed the proposal, had said that the thrust of an IIEST will be for engineering education.

They had also warned that there was no guarantee that the institution will be a public-funded one after the Plan period.

But the engineering faculty members, who voiced support for the proposal, had said that Cusat would gain national recognition with the IIEST status.

They had also pointed out that political intervention and administrative hurdles would come down with the formation of an IIEST.