Washington/Lucknow, Dec 22 (PTI) The “Austin University” in California, which signed a MoU recently with the Uttar Pradesh government to build a USD 42 billion ‘Smart City of Knowledge’ in the state, apparently lacks the know-how and resources to do so, publicly available information indicates.
In a statement issued on December 18, the UP Government said it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the “Austin University” in the presence of Finance Minister Suresh Khanna, former minister Sidharth Nath Singh, Additional Chief Secretary for Infrastructure and Industrial Development Arvind Kumar.
The “Austin University” is different from the prestigious University of Texas, Austin, which is one of the largest institutions of higher studies in the US and is home to thousands of international students from India.
To be built on 5,000 acres of land at a cost of USD 42 billion, the Knowledge City will include the best universities of the world, according to the statement.
Reacting to questions on the status of the “Austin University”, Additional Chief Secretary Arvind Kumar clarified that the MoU has been signed with the Austin Consultancy Group and not with the Austin University and so there is no need to look into the details of the university.
“It is only a proposal and detailed scrutiny is not done at this stage and it’s also not required. We have neither allocated land or made a commitment of subsidy and other facilities at this stage. As and when they provide us with more details, we will keep on facilitating their investment proposal,” Kumar told PTI on Thursday while responding to controversy surrounding the MoU.
“They have come up with the proposal to undertake the ‘Smart City of Knowledge’ project in the state and we have welcomed it with thanks,” he added.
“It (MoU) is a formal letter of acknowledgement of the proposal to give them some confidence in the government support,” said Kumar, who was part of the state government’s delegation to the US to invite investment into UP.
The Internal Revenue Services or IRS does not have “Austin University” among its list of recognised universities or that of higher education. There are no records that Austin University has any students, faculty, or paid employees.
“Austin University” also does not figure in the list of approved or registered list of universities maintained by the US Department of Education.
The address of the university mentioned on its website is a building which also has addresses of several dozen companies, according to publicly available records at CorporationWiki.
“This institution is not approved by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to participate in Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) and is not authorised to issue I-20 visa, therefore this institution cannot accept applications from students from abroad who are on an F-1 or M-1 visa. This institution does not offer any visa services and will not vouch for a student status,” says the students hand book.
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