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No proposal to privatise tech education: Gogoi
Guwahati, Dec 3:
Published on 3 Dec. 2009 11:01 PM IST
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Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today clarified that there was no move underway to privatise state-run engineering colleges and polytechnic institutes. ‘’There is no proposal to privatise these colleges and institutes. A wrong information campaign has been launched by some vested interest groups,’’ Mr Gogoi told reporters here. A proposal by the state government to bring state-run engineering colleges and polytechnic institutes under the provisions of the Societies Act had created a furore in the state, with students even blocking the Chief Minister’s convoy in its protest. The fees burden on the students is feared to rise under the new provision and the staff of these colleges and institutes could also lose certain benefits. Mr Gogoi maintained that the proposal was sent out under a new scheme of the Government of India Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme whereby greater financial and academic autonomy was to be given to these institutes. ‘’However, if they do not want it, the government shall not impose. But the colleges and institutes stand to lose in the long run,’’ he added. Meanwhile, Gogoi appealed to all top Ulfa leaders to come for negotiations and said the government has received encouraging signals from the militant outfit to hold peace talks. He also said that his government favoured safe passage to the outfit’s leaders if they come for talks. “There must be an end to the mindless violence in the state. We are keeping our doors open for all of them. The top Ulfa leaders including Paresh Barua must respond to the peoples’ desire for peace,” Gogoi told reporters here. On Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa expressing his willingness to come to the negotiating table, he said, “Signals (from the Ulfa) are encouraging”. Gogoi’s comments came after Rajkhowa was quoted by the North East TV channel as saying that the banned outfit was ready for peace talks with the government. Asked whether Assam Government will offer safe passage to top Ulfa leaders if they come for talks, he said, “I am for it.” On involving Ulfa ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Barua, who controls the military wing of the outfit, Gogoi said talks can be held without him but if he comes the government will be happy. “If he comes on his own, we will be very happy,” the Assam chief minister said, adding there may be good news in a week’s time.

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