GUWAHATI, July 20 � The State Assembly today passed the Cotton College State University Bill-2011, and the Assam Venture Educational Institutions (Provincialization of Services) Bill-2011, incorporating some amendments.
Participating in the debate on the Bill, Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the historic Cotton College would now become a university with power to affiliate colleges under it. He said that this would result in healthy competition among the State's three universities as colleges would seek the best universities for affiliation.
"Let there be healthy competitions among the universities which would create a better academic environment in the State...the passing of the Bill is a historic occasion as the changes occurring in the 110-year-old institution would embrace all other institutions and trigger a educational renaissance in the State," he said.
On the controversy over retaining the university in the same name and not naming it after an illustrious son of the State such as Anandaram Baruah or Manik Chandra Baruah as suggested by intellectual circles, the minister reasoned that effecting such as change in name would negate the 110-year-old 'brand value and heritage' of the august institution, and therefore not in the best interests of the State.
"We want to capitalize and build on the brand value of Cotton College and feel that changing the university's name would go against that," he said.
He, however, said that the government was �open-minded� and if the �Cotton family� wanted such a change, that would be done through a consensus, in the future. "Effecting a change today would result in an uncalled-for controversy but if a greater consensus is there in the future, we are open to that," he added.
Sarma also said that all the upcoming universities in the State would be named after its illustrious personalities as had been done in the case of the few varsities that came up recently.
Sarma also revealed that the State government had in principle proposed to upgrade JB College, Jorhat to a university.
The minister further said that the property of the Cotton College except its liquid assets would henceforth be handled by the Cotton College State University.
On the controversy over the provision that makes the Chief Minister the Chancellor of the university, Sarma said that it was necessary at least for the initial years for facilitating government patronization and flow of funds to the university.