Friday, April 27, 2007

The Sambalpur rally memorandum: Ashes Kumar Padhy

To : Shri (Dr.) Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalamji

His Excellency the President of India, New Delhi, (presidentofindia@rb.nic.in)

: Shri (Dr.) Manmohan Singhji

Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, New Delhi (pmosb@pmo.nic.in)

: Shri Arjun Singhji

Hon’ble Minister, MHRD, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi, (arjuns@sansad.nic.in)

: Shri Naveen Patnaikji

Hon’ble Chief Minister of Orissa, Bhubaneswar, (cmo@ori.nic.in)

Sub : Appeal for (1) A new IIT in Orissa

(2) Upgradation of Orissa’s oldest and finest engineering college ‘UCE, Burla’ as an IIEST

Respected Sirs,

This appeal is being raised to you by the intellectuals, students, and professionals of Orissa with a sense of deep anguish and high hopes. Statistics alone speaks volumes about the continued injustice meted to Orissa – may it be allocation for railways, planned grants, and among many, the allocation of central university & IIT to Orissa.

Union minister of state for HRD Shri MAA Fatmi had announced at the inaugural ceremony of NIOS on August 28th 2006 that 2 IITs in Orissa and one in Bihar would be included in the 11th Five Year Plan. As history has always betrayed Orissa, three green-field IITs have now been planned in Rajasthan, Bihar and Andhra. People of Orissa are in complete disbelief as to how the proposed IIT could be shifted to other States, even as our hon’ble Chief Minister had announced 300 acres of land for the new IIT.

Similarly, when Joshi Committee and subsequently AnandKrishnan Committee evaluated few of the ‘old and quality’ engineering colleges to upgrade to the status of IIEST (Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology), Orissa’s legitimacy was ignored again. Hon’ble Chief Minister Sri Patnaik had recommended to MHRD for upgrading Orissa’s first engineering college - ‘University College of Engineering, Burla’, which has completed 50 years of service to the nation. A booklet containing the self-evaluation of in line with Anadkrishnan has been enclosed.

Five compelling reasons for setting up a green-field IIT in Orissa

1. If Science & Technology are determinants of a State's progress, no state in Republic of India needs IIT more than the poorest Orissa does.

India will truly be a developed country, when each State is developed. Orissa is a state where the poorest, the sickest and one of most illiterate Indians live. 47.15 % of Orissa’s population live below the poverty line against India’s average of 26.10%. Orissa has an IMR of 87 per thousand live births vis-à-vis all-India 68. Overall literacy rate of Orissa is at 63.61 %, well below All India 65.4%. No state can achieve robust growth in economy without sound base in science and technology, which are directly linked to its economic development. While states like Maharastra, Tamilnadu or Karnataka have leveraged the technology base to grow their economy, Orissa has suffered due to the lack of such institutions.

2. Bring correction to the Regional Imbalances, so glaring even after sixty years of Independence

The original Sarkar Committee on whose landmark report IITs were formed in 1950s, had recommended establishment of not less than four IITs – one each in the North, East, South, and West. The visionary report envisaged IITs to be as spread as possible so that benefits of technical excellence are distributed among larger population. Among the States in the South, West, North and the East, Orissa is the only one State that does not have single institution at the level of INIs (total 13 in India), IITs (total 7), IIMs (total 6), Central Universities (total 18). Orissa has no National level R & D establishments except the Regional Research Laboratory of CSIR, Central Rice Research Institute of ICAR and Institute of Physics. In comparison, the city of Hyderabad alone has over 40 centrally funded R & D institutions.

As union budget shows, Centre spends Rs 4.07 on HRD-NH (HRD ministry funded higher education institutions plus Institutions of National Importance) per person in Orissa, Rs 183.08 in Delhi, Rs 115.14 in Uttaranchal, Rs 41.20 in West Bangal, Rs 33.4 in Karnataka, Rs 28.38 in Maharastra, Rs 27 in Tamilnadu. This is gross mismatch and extreme injustice for 35 millions of people of Orissa.

3. After 60 years, Orissa sees an industrial turn around. It needs IIT like never before.

Orissa is poised to add in excess of 70 million tones per annum in steel, 4 mtpa in alumina refining,

1 mtpa in aluminium, 15 mtpa in petrochemical refining, 13000 MWs in power and 5 mtpa in cement. POSCO, Tatas, Mittal, L&T, Aditya Birla Group, Vedanta, Infosys, Satyam, TCS, Wipro are opening shops in Orissa. (a) One NIT notwithstanding, Orissa needs more quality engineers to feed the core and IT industries. (b) Industries need well-equipped laboratories for various testing and calibrations, just as IIT or CPRI, etc. (c) For various process development, industries require reference libraries and collaboration with institute on cutting-edge research. (d) An IIT attracts more university-spawned-high-tech-companies just as Stanford University and MIT have spawned many top-notch companies such as Google, Yahoo and Bose Electronics – all near the University.

4. A National level institute to address “regional challenges”

Natural Disasters have always stood against economic strides of the State. Orissa has faced 17 yrs of flood, 19 yrs of drought, 7 yrs of cyclone since 1965. 480 KMs of coastal line of Orissa remains prone to Tsunami. There is a compelling need of a quality research centers in areas of disaster preparedness and mitigation such as atmospheric science, monsoons, ocean studies, Concrete structures as Cyclone Shelters, emergency evacuation system, seismological observatory, etc.

With vast mineral resources, Orissa is fast turning out to be one of the ‘Quarries of the World’. But, we have many challenges like reduced water retention of hills, drying of rivers, deforestation, denuding of landscape, ecological degradation, pollution of river and ground water, etc. An IIT can formulate innovative mining and provide engineering solutions to sustainable development.

5. An IIT in Orissa will support the Engineering colleges and spread the knowledge grid

In recent years, about fifty private engineering colleges have sprung up in Orissa. An IIT would pave the way for teachers in the private engineering colleges to pursue higher degrees at the IIT. Colleges can collaborate with the IIT for research and recruit faculty from IIT PG and Ph.Ds.

Five reasons why UCE, Burla is a fit candidate for upgradation to IIEST

1. UCE fits the rank of 'old & quality' engineering college.

UCE has a matured, responsible, and rigourous academic system which has been carefully nurtured over 50 years. It teaches UG, PG and Doctorate programs and produced over 15,000 alumni. UCE is an ‘Autonomous’ College since 1992. UCE has earned the clearance of State Government for registration as Society with independent Governing Body. To know the real worth of UCE, one has to look into the companies like SAIL, NALCO, NTPC, L&T, JINDAL, Vedanta, ONGC, etc where its alumni have served strategic positions upto the Board of Directors. One can see the IITs, the foreign Universities where her alumni are faculties. UCE has made huge contribution to the society. Probably there is not a single dam, port, road, power plant, transmission line, industries, irrigation projects, etc in Orissa which has been created without overwhelming participation of UCE alumni. UCE faculties have proved their credibility with their eminence, number of doctorates produced, number of papers produced, etc. About 70% of its faculties today have PhD degrees.

2. UCE has unmatched infrastructure, among bountiful nature

At a time when independent India’s first dam project the ‘Hirakud Dam’ was nearing completion in 1956, UCE took birth at its foothill. UCE has 200 Acres land at the bank of large water body, with additional 300 acres of free land for expansion. UCE is 100% residential college for students, faculties, and staff. It has well developed infrastructures like academic buildings, lecture hall sizes, library, sports complex, computer center, laboratories, workshop, auditorium, high speed Internet connectivity, etc. It has the biggest auditorium, largest library, and 2nd largest campus among all engineering colleges in Orissa. UCE is just 50 KMs away from the Jharsuguda airport.

3. An IIEST in Western Orissa, in close vicinity of KBK, can play larger role in societal development

UCE is in less-developed Western Orissa and close proximity to India's poorest ‘KBK’ region, where an IIEST can play catalyst in implementing schemes such as 'PURA' - i.e. improving the physical, electronic & knowledge connectivities. UCE is already functioning as State Govt’s Nodal Monitoring Agency for PMGSY (Pradhan Mantri Gramya Sarak Yojona), WaterShed project, etc.

4. UCE is uniquely positioned amidst industries & institutions where an IIEST can flourish.

UCE is at the epicenter of Orissa’s industrial hub, such as Mahanadi Coal Fields, Hindalco, Orissa Hydro Power Corporation, Vedanta Alumina, Aditya Aluminium, Bhusan Steel, Orissa Power Generation Corporation, UltraTech Cement, ACC Cement, Rourkela Steel Plant, NTPC, NALCO, etc. UCE is also surrounded by Sambalpur University, VSS Medical College, Chipilima OUAT. Collaboration with industries and institutions is bound to fetch far-reaching R&D results.

5. Poor State like Orissa cannot afford large fund to this fine institution & research centre

Being an agrarian economy, Orissa’s own tax base is low. The non-tax revenue, of which mining royalty contributes 60%, is also not increasing much. Whopping 62% of borrowings by Orissa in 2001-02 (RE) were utilized for financing interest payment. While Centre gives IITs Rs 100 crores per annum and and NITs get 30 crores, State Govt gives UCE about 4 crores a year. So, it is much better option to upgrade UCE as an IIEST than to lose a fine institution and a sound research base.

We make this appeal to consider our twin legitimate demands, i.e. (a) establishment of new IIT (b) upgrading UCE into an IIEST, with all fairness and give the people of Orissa their due.

With warm regards,

1 comment:

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