IIT issue: Navin dashes letter to PM
Bhubaneswar: Close on the heels of the outright rejection of the Centre to set up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Orissa, chief minister Navin Patnaik on Thursday dashed a letter to prime minister Manmohan Singh in this connection.
The letter stated that the recent reply of Union minister of state for human resource development on the floor of the Parliament regarding establishment of IITs in the country has come as a shock to us.
Expressing deep anguish and surprise over the double entendre by the Centre in this connection, Patnaik, in his letter, reminded the prime minister of the announcement made by the Union minister of state for HRD Mohd Fatmi on August 28 last year in Patna that
Orissa was included in the proposal for three green field IITs in the 11th Five Year Plan.
It is indeed painful that this announcement has been reversed by the ministry of HRD for reasons not known to others, he noted.
Patnaik also went on saying that since Orissa has no institute of excellence in higher learning, there was a proposal to open a branch of IIT, Kharagpur, in Bhubaneswar for which the state government had promised land of nearly 300 acres.
It appears that even this proposal has been turned down, he observed.
Referring to his earlier meting with the honourable HRD minister in this connection, the chief minister said that the latter had told him that the case of Orissa can be considered for a full-fledged green field IIT.
The recent decision of government of India to locate the IITs in states which already have the benefit of many Central institutes indicates that objective criteria have not been followed in deciding the locations of the three IITs, he said, and requested the prime minister to include Orissa’s case in the 11th Five-Year Plan.
It may be mentioned here that the ruling BJP and BJD MPs of Orissa had staged a walkout in the Parliament on Tuesday followed by a sit-in dharna in front of the Parliament on the next day in protest against the statement of Union minister of state for Human Resource Development D Purandeshwari that the Centre has no plans to set up an IIT in Orissa in near future.
They also threatened to take to the streets till the demand of the state is met by the Centre.