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Trust to be created for renovation of Senate House

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, MARCH 27. The Madras University Senate today gave its assent for the creation of a Trust for the restoration, renovation and maintenance of the 130-year-old Senate House. A proforma for the Trust Deed was also ratified by the University body.

The architectural masterpiece of Robert Fellows Chisholm was completed in 1873. It was used for meetings of the university bodies and for conducting convocations for over 100 years. But now, as the condition of the building deteriorated badly, an expert committee listed steps required for its restoration at a cost of Rs. 6 crores.

The Trust would mobilise the required funds, manage the same, undertake the renovation work, maintain the Senate House and oversee its use after renovation. Its Trustees would be the Vice-Chancellor, two nominees of the Syndicate, a nominee each representing the Chennai Heritage Trust, the Chennai Willington Corporate Foundation and the Indian National Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage. The Chancellor would be the patron. The Trustees could appeal for and raise funds, subscriptions, grants and loans, or appoint professionals required for its activities.

By another resolution, the Senate decided to allot 10 seats in the M.Sc Biotechnology programme under "self-supporting basis" from 2004-05, in addition to the sanctioned strength. The fee structure for these 10 seats would be Rs. 10,000 per semester for tuition fee and Rs. 10,000 per semester as laboratory fee.

Similarly, the Senate resolved to sanction 10 extra seats in the M.Sc Mathematics course offered by the Ramanujan Institute of Advanced Study, under the self-supportive mode in addition to the existing 30 seats. The extra seats would have a fee structure of Rs. 10,000 a year.

The Senate also adopted a report prepared by an empowered committee that went into the issue of granting financial autonomy to certain departments that are getting funds from the University Grants Commission and the Department of Science and Technology. These departments and its authorities would now get autonomy to a limited extent for spending the grant amounts. The coordinator of a funded scheme could spend up to Rs. 50,000 at one time for purchase of material/equipment, a sub-committee up to Rs. 1 lakh, a campus director up to Rs. 1.5 lakhs, the Registrar up to Rs. 2 lakhs, the Vice-Chancellor up to Rs. 6 lakhs each time. Only for the purchase of equipment beyond Rs. 6 lakhs should the matter go to the Syndicate, the report noted.

In his opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, S.P. Thyagarajan, said under the "University with Potentials for Excellence Programme," a series of building projects were to be taken up including a student amenities centre on the Guindy campus (Rs. 50 lakhs), classrooms and a data centre on the Chepauk campus (Rs. 2 crores); Instrumentation Building on the Guindy campus (Rs. 90 lakhs); Women's Hostel (Rs. 60 lakhs) and building for microbiology department both on the Taramani campus (Rs. 73.6 lakhs).

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