Kolkata: To upgrade infrastructure and attract international faculty, the Presidency University here has successfully raised Rs two crore from corporate houses and its many well-placed alumni spread all over the world.

“We are very happy that the corporate sector has come forward in our fundraiser. So far we have collected Rs two crore from corporate houses as well as individual donors and alumni,” Presidency’s Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar told PTI.

To fulfil its ambitions despite limited financial support from the West Bengal government, the cash-crunched varsity had launched a campaign and started the Presidency University Vice-Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence.

Their target is to get funds of Rs 200 crore by 2017 when the institute celebrates its bicentenary.

The most recent generous donation of Rs one crore was made for the setting up of a chair – the Paresh Chandra Chatterjee Professor of History  from the Luxmi Charitable Trust run by Kolkata-based Luxmi Tea Company.

“We have also sought support from industry bodies like Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Assocham. The response has been positive,” Sarkar said.

The West Bengal government has contributed another Rs six crore to its kitty.

All contributors in India get a 100 per cent tax relief as the University Grants Commission gave it the rare status of ‘Institution of National Eminence’ in 2012.

Besides introducing excellent research facilities in various disciplines, Presidency wants to upgrade its labs, buildings and other infrastructure.

Funds are also needed to build a second campus at a 10-acre plot in Rajarhat’s New Town where officials say they want to build state-of-the-art laboratories, academic zones with classrooms and professional schools, teachers’ quarters, guest houses, student hostels, a lodge for the vice-chancellor and an international conference centre.

“In order to attract the best faculty to Presidency as a unique institution and centre of excellence, we had emphasised the need to offer emoluments including medical and other benefits comparable and commensurate with central and central government funded institutions,” Presidency’s mentor group said in its report.

Besides putting up a message on its website appealing for funds, faculty members, students, alumni and other well-wishers of the institute have been asked to spread the message of fund raising by word of mouth, officials said.

Founded in 1817, Presidency was granted full university status in 2010. Its illustrious alumni include Academy Award winner filmmaker Satyajit Ray, Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, physicists Satyendra Nath Bose and Meghnad Saha, nationalist leader ‘Netaji’ Subhas Chandra Bose and India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad.

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