Around 100 applications have been received by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) from Tamil Nadu for starting new engineering colleges this year, according to P. Mannar Jawahar, AICTE regional chairman and Vice-Chancellor, Anna University, Chennai.

With more than 51,000 of the nearly 1.66 lakh seats in 440 engineering colleges remaining vacant from last year, State Higher Education Minister K. Ponmudy had indicated recently that the government was averse to more engineering colleges being started in the State.

However, a number of institutions have expressed willingness to start new colleges. The application deadline, set for February 20, has been extended to February 28 recently. Dr. Mannar Jawahar said the final figures could be higher.

To ensure the colleges started admissions in the current academic year, the proposals would be looked at by the Scrutinising and Visiting Committees and approvals would be given by the end of April.

A month’s time to correct issues would be given to institutions found to be lacking in certain areas to allow them to participate in the single-window counselling process, he said.

The university would also be sending from the first week of March its affiliation committees to visit colleges affiliated to it, he said.