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Kalam meets Bihar educationists on train
May 31, 2003 01:11 IST
President A P J Abdul Kalam on Friday interacted with vice-chancellors of 10 Bihar universities on the special presidential train.
Kalam, on his way from Harnaut to Patna, exchanged views with the VCs and quizzed them in his special salon, where entry of others, including Railway Minister Nitish Kumar, was prohibited.
There was consensus among the VCs that Bihar needed more technical and professional educational institutes, Magadh University Vice-Chancellor Abhimanyu Singh said.
All VCs demanded setting up of an IIT in the state and giving central university status to the Patna University, he said.
The VCs, who were asked about the state of affairs in their universities, also made suggestions on ways to improve functioning of the institutions.
They told the President about the delays in receiving salaries, non-implementation of University Grants Commission pay scales and non-filling of vacancies.
Some of the VCs also raised issues like lack of infrastructure.
Singh said the President asked the VCs to explore the possibilities of setting up Buddhist learning centres across the state to attract foreign students. He referred to Bihar's vast potential for teaching Buddhist religion and literature.
The presidential salon, cheered by a large group of onlookers standing across the tracks, rolled on for the fifth time in post-independence period. The first President, Rajendra Prasad, had travelled in it from Darbhanga to Nirmali in Bihar to inaugurate the Western Kosi Barrage.
The last time it was used was in 1977, when President Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy travelled to Mumbai from New Delhi.
The train had twice been used to carry visiting foreign dignitaries.
The tastefully decorated train has a kitchen, a bathroom, a special toilet and special chamber for the President's staff.
It arrived at the Patna junction after covering a distance of 60 km in an hour.
After alighting, the President flagged off the 'memu train' on the Patna-Gaya section by pulling down the lever.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rashtriya Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad Yadav and a host of ministers and officials were present on the occasion.