ANDHRA PRADESH

OU takes over Indo-American studies centre



R. Ravikanth Reddy

Management attempt to hand it over to CIEFL successfully thwarted

HRD Ministry green signal clinches the issueNew acquisition to be converted into an inter-university centre (IUC) for humanitiesUGC had approved the proposal in 2003

HYDERABAD: The Indo-American Centre for International Studies (IACIS), formerly American Studies Research Centre, which has been facing financial crunch since the stoppage of funds by the American Government, is finally in the hands of Osmania University.

The university successfully thwarted the attempt of the centre management to hand it over to the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages (CIEFL) and took over the centre officially on Monday after the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) gave the green signal. The institute is spread over a sprawling five-acre site leased out by OU in 1970.

Ambitious plans

The university is planning to convert its new acquisition into an Inter-University Centre (IUC) for Humanities and Social Sciences, which would be the first of its kind in the country. "This is a proud possession and we will discuss the issue with academics and the Executive Council before deciding on how best the facilities can be made use of," OU Registrar M. Mutha Reddy said.

Ever since the U.S. funding stopped in 1998 and it got converted into IACIS with support from the Rock Feller Foundation, the university had been planning to take over the centre. In his capacity as Chairman of the Governing Council of IACIS, the then Vice-Chancellor Anantha Swamy sent a proposal to the University Grants Commission (UGC) urging it to convert into an IUC for Humanities and Social Sciences. He cited the IUCs in Kolkata and Indore and requested the sanction on similar lines.

"The idea was to get some UGC funds," recalled an official. The UGC approved the proposal in 2003 but the HRD Ministry struck it down stating that IUCs at Kolkata and Indore were for pure sciences and new centre cannot be granted.

Fate of employees

Meanwhile, with fund crunch clearly affecting the functioning the IACIS its management made an attempt to hand it over to CIEFL. But Osmania University officials resisted the attempt and wrote to the HRD urging it not to clear it as the land belonged to the university and got a positive response.

Regarding the future of the employees, Prof. Mutha Reddy said the 20-odd employees were all on contract basis and in fact, they had got their terminal benefits in 1998 itself after the ASRC turned into IACIS.

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