XIMB director threatens to resign over administrative delays in setting up Xavier University

Xavier Institute of Management (XIMB), Bhubhaneswar

A tussle is going on between Xavier Institute of Management (XIM), Bhubhaneswar, and the law department of the Orissa state government over building a Xavier University in the city. In a conversation with PaGaLGuY, Father PT Joseph, the XIMB director said that he would resign from his post if the law department continued to create hurdles in the creation of the Xavier University.

The institute has been unsuccessfully chasing the dream of building a university for the past three years and the director blames the law department for causing unnecesary delays in the project. On the other hand, the law department insists that all their objections to the proposed plan are legitimate and they have nothing against the idea of having a private university built in the city.

XIMB had first floated a proposal for Xavier University in 2009. The plan then was to upgrade XIMB to a university. The idea was approved by the higher education department. However, when the file was sent to the law department, it claimed that the proposal had some inadequacies.

The same year, the law department asked XIMB to produce an AICTE clearance certificate which the latter could not. At that time, that AICTE had refused XIMB a clearance as the campus was situated on forest land — a matter which was pending with the ministry of forests and environment. This was listed as a roadblock by the law department in the institute’s path to becoming a university. However in 2010, XIMB approached the Orissa High Court seeking AICTE approval for its programmes following which the court directed the AICTE to provide approval to its programmes.

Past its first hurdle, the institute faced another objection raised by the law department, which required an institute to first de-affiliate itself from the varsity of which it was currently a constituent member before it could be upgraded into a university. According to JB Mishra, deputy secretary, Law Department, Odisha, when the department asked XIMB for details of its affiliation to a university, it was unable to do so. Being an autonomous b-school, XIMB is not affiliated to any university.

Thus, XIMB reconsidered their initial plan of upgrading the institute into a university and in 2010, prepared a fresh proposal for forming a new private university in the city. The institute was faced with two major challenges in the second proposal, one of which has been sorted out recently.

The institute had quoted an endowment fund of Rs 3 crore, which is a specific amount of money set aside by a university to be used for the benefit of the students for contingencies. According to the judgement given by the Supreme Court in a 2004 case of Prof Yashpal v/s State of Chattisgarh and Others, the amount is not sufficient for the endowment fund of a university. When confronted with this, XIMB agreed to increase the amount as per government regulations, JB Mishra said.

“Once the higher education department communicates the exact amount that needs to be put aside as endowment fund, we will follow their instructions,” Father Joseph told PaGaLGuY.

However, there is one more impediment that institute still faces. For the purpose of building a university, the institute has leased a 35 acre land plot near Pipili district from the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) for 90 years. The law department is questioning the legitimacy of the acquired land plot.

As per the IDCO Act of 1980, any organisation can sell or lease any commercial property for industrial purposes only. Any educational institutes, hospitals, private quarters, swimming pools and so on can only be incidental infrastructural additions to the piece of land. Thus, the current transaction between XIMB and IDCO is void, claims JB Mishra.

Countering the point, Father Joseph said that according to the Orissa Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR), 2007, which is a gazette notification, IDCO has the right to grant land for building education institutes as well. Mishra responds that a mere mention in a state gazette does not mean that the same can supercede an existent law, in this case the IDCO Act of 1980.

He said that even if the government had passed a resolution which stated that IDCO could lease land for non-industrial purposes, unless the same was converted into an Act, it could not override the present law.

While the law department is adamant that they are just doing their duty, Father Joseph says that the law department is harassing the institute without any solid ground. “We are trying our best but if things continue in this manner, I will step down from the institute by the end of this year,” Father Joseph said.

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