Monday, February 26, 2007

Central PSUs urged to help in establishment of IIT in State

Central PSUs urged to help in establishment of IIT in State
Pioneer News Service Bhubaneswar
IIT, as a brand, has made a significant contribution and added value to 'Brand India'. So, 'Brand Orissa' too is looking forward to having an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in the State in order to boost its image in the international arena.
When Ashok Kumar Basu, Principal Secretary of the department of science and technology and information technology of Jharkhand, disclosed the State Government's intention to rope in the public sector to set up quality technical institutes in the State, IITians and non-resident Oriyas (NROs) immediately joined the issue.
NROs have urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to impress upon the Central Government's public sector undertakings (PSUs) to invest in the human resources development in the State in general and establishment of an IIT-type institute in particular.
According to Basu, the PSU Bokaro Steel has already agreed to set up an engineering college and a medical college in Bokaro. Talks are on with top private institutes to set up educational shops in Jharkhand, he added.
NROs have suggested the State Government to cajole the various mineral-based industries like steel and aluminium plants and coalfield undertakings to invest in the human resource development of the State. Chitta Baral, Professor of Arizona State University, pointed out that so far only Vedanta Resources Plc has announced its intention to set up a world-class university and that a sum of Rs 13 crore has been donated by Tata Steel for the Bhubaneswar-based Institute of Mathematics. But other companies have contributed little for the establishment of ITI-type trade schools. If one analyses the investments of Central PSUs in the HRD sector in Orissa, he would find that they have not done much, pointed out Digambara Patra, visiting Lecturer of Waseda University of Tokyo. Now, Orissa must take a quick lesson from Jharkhand, where the Bokaro Steel plant has agreed to establish an engineering college as well as a medical college in Jharkhand, said Patra.
Dhirendra Kar, vice-president of the Orissa Society of Americas, urged the Orissa Government to immediately pursue with the big minerals-based PSUs in the State for establishment of an IIT-equivalent technology institute.
The major minerals-based Central PSUs such as Rourkela Steel Plant, NALCO, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and NTPC may be cajoled to follow the path of Bokaro Steel Plant and establish an IIT, he said. In the mater of establishment of a medical college, a location in the hinterland, near the mines from where the minerals come from, should get preference.
For example, NALCO should establish its medical college at Damanjodi, which is in the backward district of Koraput, he added.
The Orissa Government should then make similar efforts in respect of the private sector companies, particularly Tata Steel, that depend on minerals from Orissa. Since Tata Steel has been exploiting the Orissa minerals for more than a century, the company must go beyond an engineering college and a medical college and establish a technical university, Prof Baral demanded.
The State Government has also to rope in corporate sector and the upcoming private sector biggies such as POSCO, Reliance and Arcelor-Mittal in this regard. In particular, POSCO has created one of the top engineering universities POSTECH in South Korea and the Mittals have established the LN Mittal School of Informatics in Jaipur in Rajasthan. So, these industrial houses must be made aware that Orissa expects similar HRD investment from them soon, perhaps as soon as their land acquisition is completed, said Prof Baral.

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