Sunday, April 8, 2007

New Indian Express: Citizens take to streets, demand IIT for State

Citizens take to streets, demand IIT for State
Monday April 9 2007 10:31 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Jolted by the Centre's move to deny Orissa an IIT, hundreds of people from various walks of life on Sunday took out a rally here protesting the decision. They submitted a memorandum to President APJ Abdul Kalam. It was organised by Agami Odisha, an apolitical platform of eminent scientists, educationists and social activists.

The Centre's move has not only saddened the people but has also robbed the State of its rightful claim, rued working president of the forum Lalit Pattnaik.

The Government had stated its intention to set up the next set of IITs in backward States and had picked Orissa as one of the prospective places. But it went back on its promise and instead gifted an IIT to Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan, however, got their due share, he remarked.

The decision not only created uproar in the State, but also created fear among the people that other schemes like upgrading UCE Burla into Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology might never be realised.

While the Chief Minister shot off a protest letter to the Centre against the decision, many were surprised over its meek response in the following days.

Today when the Centre has sanctioned Rs 400 crore for the new IITs, Pattnaik said, Orissa should build up a mass movement to extract its claim.

We would transform this by creating awareness among the people in every nook and corner of the State, he said.

Sunday's rally coincided with the IIT entrance examination.

Across the country some 2.5 lakh appeared for the test, being held for the first time under the revised format.

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