Thursday, February 8, 2007

New Indian Express: Orissa poised for mass movement

Orissa poised for mass movement
Thursday February 8 2007 11:32 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa being given a short shrift by the Centre on the development front might be a common issue but frequent instances of shifting projects from the State to others have raised heckles among the people.

The Human Resource Development Ministry’s recent approval for setting up three more Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Rajasthan, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh bypassing Orissa, which was named as a beneficiary state only last year, is once again poised to lead to a mass movement.

HRD Minister of State MAA Fatmi in August last year had announced that the proposal for establishing IITs in Bihar, Orissa and one Western Indian state would be included in the 11th Five-Year Plan. But the decision was changed and the one proposed for Orissa was handed over to AP.

According to sources, Orissa is most deserving for allocation of an IIT not only in consideration of the industrial boom, ensuing requirement of quality technical personnel, support for technical colleges but more importantly for it figures among the bottom three states in the Ministry’s spending list. Rajasthan and Bihar are the other two.

As per the 2006-07 budget, the MHRD’s per capita spending on higher education institutions plus institutions of national importance in Orissa is only Rs 4.07, while in Rajasthan and Bihar it’s Rs 2.59 and Rs 1.87 respectively.

Reason: These states have the least number of HRD Ministry-funded institutions. Thus these states need more focused attention subjected to development initiatives.

Establishment of the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) cannot be counted against an IIT because it’s funded by the Ministry of Atomic Energy and not HRD.

Besides, the other States are beneficiaries of multiple institutions of national importance. Bihar and AP, each would have new National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER).

AP would also have an Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) while two universities, Osmania University College of Engineering and Andhra University College of Engineering have been short listed for up gradation to IIT status and called Indian Institutes of Engineering Science and Technology.

Thus, taking into account the emerging conditions in Orissa that necessitate quality institutions to churn out personnel, the Union HRD Ministry should sanction an IIT to the State, noted academician and professor of Arizona State University Chitta Baral said.

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