Centre rules out IIT in Orissa
Press Trust of India
NEW DELHI, May 8: The government today ruled out setting up an Indian Institute of Technology in Orissa, saying it has already approved three such institutes in Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Replying to a Calling Attention Motion moved by MPs from Orissa demanding an Indian Institute of Technology, minister of state for human resource development Ms D Purandeshwari said the three new IITs were decided on recommendations of the Planning Commission and Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Council.
Raising the issue, Mr Brij Kishore Tripathy (Biju Janata Dal) said the government had initially approved setting up of an IIT in Orissa but later changed the decision.
“Minister of state for HRD Mr Mohd Fatmi had said in August 2006 in Patna that an Indian Institute of Technology would be set up in Orissa. Then, why was the decision changed,” Mr Tripathy asked.
However, Ms Purandeshwari said Mr Fatmi has denied having made such a statement. A new Indian Institute of Technology would cost over Rs 1,000 crore, she said adding the government had never decided to set up such an institute in Orissa.
Dissatisfied with her reply, BJP and BJD members staged a walkout.
Besides an Indian Institute of Technology, Mr Tripathy demanded an Indian Institute of Management and asked the government to approve a proposal by IIT-Kharagpur to set up an extension campus in Bhubaneswar.
Mr B Mehtab of the BJD said the UPA government had been ignoring Orissa and sought to know how much funds the human resource development ministry had spent for higher education in the state.
BJP member Mr Kharbela Swain asked the government what was the criterion for selecting locations for new IITs, while BJD’s Mr Prasanna Acharya said with many new industrial projects coming up, Orissa needed an Indian Institute of Technology for skilled manpower.
Call for dharna
Meanwhile, the BJD Rajya Sabha leader, Mr Baijayant Panda, has requested all MPs from Orissa, irrespective of party affiliation, to be join a sit-in dharna near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the premises of Parliament tomorrow for an IIT in the state, SNS adds from Bhubaneswar.
All BJD-BJP MPs from Orissa have decided to stage a dharna and others from the state are invited to join, he said.
Orissa is being continuously neglected by the Centre, especially by the ministry of HRD, said Mr Panda. In spite of the declaration by the HRD minister of state to have two IITs in Orissa last year, the Centre has decided to have three new IITs in Bihar, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
It is unfortunate that Orissa’s longstanding demand for Central institutes like Indian Institute of Technology and Indian Institute of Management continues to be ignored by the Central government, he observed.