The day Dr Sanjay Deshmukh took charge as vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai, he had promised to turn around the institution.Now, within months, the university has expressed its desire to buy an aircraft, purely for “academic purpose”. The craft would be for an yet-to-be-launched course in BSc (aviation and commercial flying) at the university’s own Garware Institute of Career Education and Development at the Kalina campus in collaboration with the Bombay Flying Club (BFC).<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”This could be a four-seater Cessna 172, which may cost nearly Rs1.5 crore. Several rounds of high-level talks between top officials of the university and the club have taken place of late,” sources privy to the development told dna.The craft would be parked at the Juhu aerodrome, sharing space with the BFC.The university’s own three-year BSc course in aviation and commercial flying is expected to start in 2016-17. The number of seats, fee structure and other details are still being worked out.Though the university has been offering a BSc course in aviation since 2002, it is being conducted by a separate institute. With the boom in aviation sector and huge demand for the course, the varsity now wants to start its own course.When asked about the development, university PRO Leeladhar Bansod claimed: “The decision to buy an aircraft was taken in 2009 when we wanted to start an aviation course at our Ratnagiri campus. However, we failed to get approval to construct a runway there due to objections from the Coast Guard. We have decided to implement the 2009 decision now.” Bansod also insists that the move aims to support the Centre’s Skill India initiative.Incidentally, Dr Deshmukh has himself enrolled for a private pilot licence at the BFC, sources told dna. “He has paid the fee as well,” said an official. Bansod refused to comment on this. Dr Deshmukh didn’t respond to messages and calls.

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Mumbai university wants to buy aircraft, VC enrols for pilot course