PUNE: At least 17 new technical institutions, which include engineering colleges, will go functional in the state from the coming academic year 2012-13.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which regulates technical education in the country, has cleared these institutions as part of the approval process for new institutions, new courses and variation in student intake for 2012-13.
AICTE's officiating chairman S S Mantha told TOI on Wednesday, "We received 669 applications for new institutions including engineering, polytechnics, management, pharmacy, architecture and applied arts colleges, among others. Of these, 76 proposals including 17 from Maharashtra have been cleared. All the remaining proposals have been rejected."
Mantha said details about the approved institutions and their sanctioned intake will be released in a day or two. "We have now moved into the appeals process for those institutions whose applications have been rejected," he said.
The AICTE started the approval process for 2012-13 by seeking online submission of proposals between October and December 2011. The process for scrutiny of these proposals had begun in January and ended on March 31.
Mantha said, "Of the 669 pleas, 307 were for new polytechnics and the remaining applications were for degree and post-graduate institutions for engineering, management and other technical courses. There were 119 applications from Maharashtra."
The state government had earlier written to the AICTE urging that no new engineering colleges be sanctioned this year in view of the large number of engineering seats going vacant for the last few years in the state. As of now, Maharashtra accounts for nearly 325 engineering colleges that collectively have a student intake of over 1.20 lakh seats. For the last two years, the engineering colleges in the state have reported close to 20,000 vacant seats.
Mantha said, "We received the letter from the Maharashtra government and we discussed the issue at our meeting too. However, applying a sudden brake on the process of approving new institutions is not a practical solution considering the gestation period for any institution to reach the state where it can apply for approval."
"Usually, it takes around two years for an institution to have all the necessary ground work in place, including raising capital, making investments in new buildings, labs and allied infrastructure and meeting other norms before it can move an application for approval before the AICTE. We cannot suddenly say no to these institutions," he said.
Mantha, however, said that the council was conscious about the concerns raised by Maharashtra as well as the other state governments regarding vacant seats. "We will review our policy for approval of new institutions which intend to start from 2014-15," he said.