Bhubaneswar: The uncertainty over establishment of the proposed Vedanta University has further intensified as former Odisha Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik today said he has resigned as President of the varsity citing “no positive progress” of the project.
Patnaik has informed about his decision through a letter to Anil Agarwal Foundation (AAF), a philanthropic unit of Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Resources Ltd and promoter of the world class varsity.
“Yes, I have resigned as the president of the proposed Vedanta University. My service is now under notice period,” Patnaik told the media.
When asked what led him to quit, the former bureaucrat added: “I had tried my best for the establishment of the Vedanta University. We formed collaboration with different foreign universities. But, there was not much interest from the foundation.”
Land was a major hurdle before the establishment of the Vedanta University.
However, Patnaik said activities of the university should not stop due to unavailability of the land immediately.
“The varsity is not an industry. It can be started from rented houses also,” the veteran bureaucrat said.
Patnaik had joined Vedanta Group as president of the Vedanta University project after he resigned from the post of member, Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC).
Meanwhile, Patnaik’s resignation fuelled speculation about his plan to plunge into politics but he was quick to reply in negative.
“As I always say that I am not interested in politics and so this time too. I want to live the way I like,” Patnaik clarified.
With Patnaik’s resignation, the uncertainty over establishment of the Vedanta University has further intensified. The varsity is entangled in a legal battle over land acquisition after the Orissa High Court termed the land acquisition made for it as illegal.
The Vedanta Foundation on July 19, 2006 had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state government to set up the university. Therefore, the state government confirmed availability of 8,000 acres of land and made notifications to acquire of 6137.90 acre land covering 18 villages along Puri-Konark marine drive.
The Odisha government had also acquired 4004.48 acre of land and handed it over to Vedanta Resources.