Thursday, May 10, 2007

Statesman: Naveen's missive to PM on IIT

IIT ~ Naveen’s missive to PM

Statesman News Service

BHUBANESWAR, May 10: “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,” said chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik in his letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today.

Carrying forward the protest of BJD-BJP MPs in New Delhi and their walkout over the issue in parliament, CM today wrote to the Prime Minister iterating the demand for an IIT in the state. The BJP, on its part, staged a protest dharna in front of Raj Bhavan here today and some of their leaders said they would continue to agitate till the demand was met.
Union minister of state for HRD Mr MM Fatmi as recently as on 28 August 2006 had mentioned 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 has been reversed by the ministry of HRD for reasons not known to others, noted Mr Patnaik in his letter.

Orissa does not have any institute of excellence in higher learning. There was a proposal to open a branch of IIT, Kharagpur, in Bhubaneswar for which government of Orissa had promised land of nearly 300 acres. It appears that even this proposal has been turned down.

“When I met the honourable minister of HRD in this connection, he had indicated to me 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 3 IITs. Mr Patnaik implored the PM to include Orissa’s case in the 11th Five Year Plan.

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