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Shillong city has lately seen numerous universities owned by private institutions running through dingy infrastructure clustered all around the city. In this letter I would like to project three things. Firstly, parents should be wary of such universities less they are duped. Get a background check not from the concerned university website but preferably from the State it claims to originate and most importantly from the alumnus. Please check the history, the board of directors and credibility of the faculty members and whether they are running in accordance with the UGC/AICTE/NCTE norms and guidelines for recognition. Any slight doubt should be brought to the concerned authorities such as DHTE or NEHU. Mind you! several universities are managed by the fly by night business sharks who would mesmerize you with their fancy brochures and give you hope for a few semesters.
Secondly, after carefully studying the norms and criteria for setting up a University/College laid down by the UGC/AICTE/NCTE/NEHU it seems absolutely impossible for anyone to even think of starting a thought process. But mysteriously, out of State Universities are having a field day, what does this imply? Some of the criteria are that the colleges /universities should have a sizeable amount as fixed deposit, acres of land, permanent faculty members with high degree of qualification and experience, a no objection certificate from Government and traditional agencies. Are these universities satisfying the above criterion? Who is doing the verification? Is the Directorate of Higher and Technical Education or NEHU the sole monitoring agencies? Are they doing their homework?
Thirdly, understanding the above, would it be within the purview of the Government Property Legislation/Act to allow or rent out Central or State Government buildings to private institutions? This is in connection with one University of Technology (Lifestyle University, where they teach you how to live) have taken on leased/rented the Bijni Complex situated in Bhagyakul, Laitumkhrah. It will be most enlightening if the university explains itself as to how, why and in what manner such Government property is handed over to an unknown university. For curiosity sake, how do they term themselves as a University!! What are the standards for calling an institution a university? I think the Government of Meghalaya and the North Eastern Hill University owe the people of Meghalaya an explanation. I also request the ever active and efficient NGOs and the community as a whole to take up this matter seriously, so as to avoid unwarranted anxiety to our younger generation.
It is the dream of everyone to visit India’s ‘Scotland of the East’. India Today magazine (Dec 2008) described Shillong among the must see destinations of a lifetime. But going around the city we find that the Scotland of the East is more like a monument to good intentions going terribly awry.
Streets resemble garbage dumps. The roads are horrible enough for Shillongites to severely reprimand the government for having the worst roads in the world. The state which is known for its concept of eco-tourism is now witnessing large scale devastation of environment at its hills. A deterioration has set in and at its current rate Shillong’s long term sustainability as the ‘Land of Enchanting Paradise’ is under threat.
Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Civic administration has collapsed, resulting in poor waste management system which has failed to keep pace with unprecedented urbanization. Problems like poor drainage system, shortage of land for dumping waste, inadequate public toilets, shortage of water, lack of infrastructure planning, encroachment and unauthorized constructions continue to haunt Shillong.
‘Halfway to Heaven’ is the current theme of the state tourism department which has initiated a set of programmes to make the local community benefit from the tourism industry as well as check social or environment decay. We have to take care that the golden goose is not killed. But at the current rate of degradation, it won’t be long before the golden goose turns into a dead duck.
Bivan R. Mukhim
Shillong – 8