The number of such seats has been going up in recent years

About 36 per cent of engineering seats have remained vacant in Karnataka though professional colleges have completed their admission process for the current academic year.

There were no takers for 24,242 seats out of around 66,000 seats, sources said. The number of vacant seats in engineering colleges has been going up in the State in the past few years. Around 11,000 seats were vacant in 2009; 14,000 seats in 2010; and around 22,000 remained unfilled in 2011.

Experts point out that indiscriminate sanctioning of new colleges coupled with lack of infrastructure and quality faculty are to be blamed for this situation.

M.K. Panduranga Setty, secretary of the Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges’ Association, said the number of available seats was higher than the number of students.

“Many new colleges are coming up and there is no clear picture about the actual requirement. The government has unnecessarily built capacity without looking into the demand. There is no coordination between the State government and the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) while giving permission for new colleges,” he said.

Up for sale

Mr. Setty said many colleges were not able to spend funds for infrastructure and other requirements because of unfilled seats. “Around 10 engineering colleges are up for sale because of inadequate number of students. Some of them are unable to repay bank loans,” he said.

Passing the buck

Meanwhile, the government has thrown its hands up and passed the buck to the AICTE.

“There is very little the government can do. It is the AICTE which gives permission to start colleges,” said Siddaiah, Principal Secretary, Higher Education. He, however, admitted that the problem should be fixed if colleges were not able to fill even 50 per cent of seats for three consecutive years.

A.S. Srikanth, executive director, Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka (COMEDK) said about 42 per cent of seats offered by the COMEDK were taken this year.

Last year, only 36 per cent of seats had takers. He added that only few people were opting for traditional courses such as civil, mechanical and electrical engineering.