Despite demand of Left parties to refer it to panel

Despite the demand of the Left parties to refer the Bill to amend the Anna University Act, 1978, and repeal certain university laws, to the select committee, the ruling party members passed it on Wednesday, paving the way for the merger of Anna Universities of Technologies with Anna University, Chennai.

As the Bill came up, CPI (M) whip K. Balakrishnan said the government should think of alternative suggestions instead of merger as administration of over 500 engineering colleges by a single (Anna) university would be difficult.

Admitting that the infrastructure in (five) Anna Universities of Technology were not in place with one of them functioning from a supermarket, he said change was necessary but the government should review the Bill by sending it to the select committee.

Echoing the same view, CPI deputy leader S. Gunasekaran said the Centre has recommended setting up of more universities and the five AUTs were created as the number of engineering colleges swelled in the State. If the name of the institutions was creating confusion, the government could change the names and could prescribe a uniform syllabus. The merger move should not confuse the students, he said.

Pointing out that there were many State universities to cater to arts and science colleges, Puthiya Tamizhagam leader K. Krishnasamy said the government should not act in haste and should send the Bill to the select committee for review. Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) members did not speak on the Bill.

However, Higher Education Minister P. Palaniappan said the merger was the only solution to improve quality of technical education.

Corruption

Appointments to the top posts in AUTs smacked of corruption during the previous DMK regime and the finances of these universities were in bad shape.

The Bill was subsequently passed to restore Anna University to its original status.

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