Reported by Chinmaya Dehury/Edited by Swetaparna Mohanty
Bhubaneswar, Aug 5:
The Odisha cabinet today approved an overhaul of the functioning of Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) which, among other things, created a new post of pro-chancellor to be held by the Technical Education and Training (TE & T) minister.
Briefing reporters after the cabinet meeting, Chief Secretary JK Mohapatra said the amendment to BPUT Act approved by the cabinet today gives powers to the university to grant autonomy to colleges affiliated to it and reduces the tenure of the vice-chancellor from five years at present to three. An officer from the Odisha Administrative Service (OAS) not below the rank of a joint secretary will be appointed as the registrar of BPUT, a post that did not exist earlier.
The cabinet also approved the proposal of the Water Resources department for creation of a ‘Water Conservation Fund’ under which industries drawing more than five cusecs of water shall contribute one time deposit of Rs 2.5 crore to the fund for every cusec of water allocated to them, Mohapatra told media persons. The fund will be utilized for construction of water conservation projects, including check dams and barrages, which will help conserve water during the monsoon for the summer.
The cabinet also gave its seal of approval to an amendment to the Odisha Co-operative Societies Act 2012, which extended the elections to societies by 12 months to July, 2014.
The cabinet also approved a scheme for improved rural transport in left wing extremism affected, scheduled and backward district. Under this scheme, entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups (SHG), Government and private operators will be provided incentives for operating light and medium commercial passenger vehicles having seating capacity of 10-26 seats, the chief secretary said.
Interest rate subvention @ 3% will be provided to entrepreneurs for procurement of passenger carriage vehicles while an additional subsidy of 2% will also be provided for timely repayment of the loan. Besides, road tax and permit fees will also be exempted for operators in such areas. The scheme would entail an annual recurring expenditure of Rs.4.25 crores towards interest subvention and exemption of permit fees/road tax amounting to Rs.1.42 crores. The routes to be serviced under this scheme will be identified by a Block Level Committee under the chairmanship of Sub-Collector, Mohapatra informed.
The Cabinet also approved the proposal to provide financial support to Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) to procure 100 small buses to be deployed in select routes in LWE affected areas. Road tax, insurance and permit fees for plying these 100 buses will be reimbursed by the State Government for a period of four years. Total financial assistance to the OSRTC for the purpose will be around Rs.21.00 crores.
Among the other proposals approved by the cabinet today were the enhancement of the retirement age of teachers in government medical colleges from 60 to 65 years, framing of the Odisha Ayurveda Medical Education Service Rules, 2013 and an amendment to Odisha Superior Judicial Service & Odisha Judicial Service Rules, 2007.