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World-class varsity from July

By Shujaat Bukhari

KATRA, JAN. 18. Jammu and Kashmir will have a world-class university when the Shri Mata Vaishnodevi University (SMVDU), opens in July this year. To be spread over a 400-acre verdant expanse on the foot of the Trikuta mountains in Sirakot-Kakrayal villages, 14 km from the Vaishnodevi shrine, SMVDU will be offering among others, courses in information technology and management.

The SMVDU Vice-Chancellor, Bharat B. Chatoo, told that the university will have wireless connectivity, high-speed Internet, chip-based all-purpose smart identity cards, online international study material and residential and hostel areas. Internet kiosks will not only be set up on the campus but also in residential blocks and hostels.

Schools of Information Technology and Management will start working this year along with Indian Philosophy and Culture, while the Biotechnology stream will begin next year. "Our focus will be on research and cross-discipline," said Dr. Chatoo, a world-famous biotechnologist, who has worked in the United States and Europe.

"Besides research we will encourage the students in entrepreneurship and try to get the young generation out of a single-track mindset."

He said it will be a different campus in all respects. A check dam has already been built and work on an artificial lake is underway. An open air theatre will be another feature. The academic blocks will be without any vehicular traffic as "there will be only some ring and loop roads for vehicular connectivity."

Set up under the auspices of the Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board, the Executive Council of the university will have people from IITs, IIMs and other institutes.

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