Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Rejoinder to Mr. Jairam Ramesh's comments in Bhubaneswar

To: Jairam Ramesh <>,
Cc:,,,, c <>, "" <>, "saubhik. chakrabarti" <>,, ,,,,,, "C.H. Hanumantha Rao" <>, "Dr. D.Swaminadhan " <>, "Dr. Manmohan Singh" <>, ,,, ,,,,,,,,

Dear Mr. Ramesh:

I read about your visit to Bhubaneswar and some news reports
and quotes of yours in Statesman. (See article below.)

1. One of them says:

"I do not want to score political points but what if I ask what were
these people doing in all the six years that the NDA was in power.
The IIT could have come up in six years time , what were you
(the BJD) doing when all that you needed was to take up the file to
Mr Vajpayee and he would have signed it," shot back Mr Ramesh.

Another paragraph of that report says:

Repeatedly emphasising that he was one with the demand of the
state for institutes of higher education, Mr Ramesh said at the same
time, one should realise that an IIT will solve the problem of unemployment.
Has Kanpur IIT contributed in any way to Kanpur? In fact, IITs have
contributed more to the US economy than Indian economy, he remarked.


Mr. Ramesh: I don't know if your intent was to score political points or if this is your thinking. You are quoted as saying that "you do not want to
score political points", so these must be your real views.

(1') Your comment (1) implies that a state can get an IIT (or similar institute) only when its coalition is in power in Delhi. Do you really mean that? So is the UPA government in Delhi only for states with UPA friendly
governments and the rest should go to hell in regards to higher education
institutions? Not only that you seem to be implying that it is not right (timing) for Orissa to ask for an IIT now because the ruling party
of the state is not aligned with the center.

If your thinking is the thinking of UPA, it is a pity that
millions of people of Orissa and a billion plus of India think that the Govt in Delhi is for all of India, not just for the specific subset of states which have a UPA friendly government.

Also, you must know the economic situation 5 years back and what is
predicted of the coming 5 years and beyond. What India could not afford 5 years back it can afford in the coming five years. So any time Orissa asks for something the UPA leaders keep replying back that why they did not get it during NDA rule. The simple answer is: *The economy of India 3-5 Yrs back was different than what it is now.* and Mr. MM Joshi had said exactly that when asked about IIT in 2002. Please see the last item of
Moreover no IITs were announced during NDA time.

So when you and other UPA leaders and Orissa congress leaders
repeatedly harp on what did not happen in the past, one wonders if it is a
mere cover for UPA's strategy in regards to where MHRD higher education budget goes: to states where the MHRD ministers come from or states with big contingent of UPA allied MPs. (example: Big winners: MP -- Mr. Arjun Singh come from there, AP -- Ms. Rao comes from there, lots of UPA MPs come from there. etc.)

So far MHRD has announced 24 national level institutes and universities;
none of them are in Orissa. Please see list below. Yet, Orissa is now at the bottom of the list for per capita spending by MHRD. See details below.

(2') In regards to your comment that
"Has Kanpur IIT contributed in any way to Kanpur?", what about the contribution of similar institutes to the locality they are in all over the world starting from contribution of MIT to the Boston area, of Stanford and Berkeley to the San Francisco Bay area, and our own IISc and all the public sector electronics companies in Bangalore to the current Bangalore. Moreover, if one thinks of the future
it is expected (and almost certain) that the IITs will contribute a lot to the
locality where they are in.

I do not know specifically about Kanpur, but it has already
started in Kharagpur. IIT Kharagpur is
helping in the
development of a Biotech park near it.
It has also decided to create a super specialty hospital and start a medical college in Kharagpur.
More on IIT Kharagpur's expected contribution is at:

(3) The Statesman article also says that you were trying to convey
that how the Orissa CM did not really ask you much. Just in case it did not dawn on you: when one's repeated demands and requests are ignored, what is the point in asking.

Worse consider this; Mr. Naveen Patnaik visits the HRD Minister in
October 2005 (see )
and tells him a great idea to have a KBK Central University for tribals, and Mr. Singh acknowledges that it is a great idea and then it seems (as reported) makes a committee with your NAC colleague and well respected Dr. Swaminadhan as the chair to give him (Mr. Singh) cover to steal the idea and make the tribal university in MP. [I asked about the time line to confirm this but did not get any reply from Dr. Swaminadhan or the UGC.]

Coming back to IIT:
Union minister of state for HRD MAA Fatmi is reported (in Times of India) on 28-8-06 to have said in Patna, "The proposal for one IIT for Bihar and two for Orissa and one Western Indian state besides one IIIT to Bihar will be included in 11th Five Year Plan," See attached page.

After that probably someone in UPA had the aha moment
and realized that Orissa is not UPA ruled, and promptly Orissa
was removed from the list and since then people of Orissa have been
trying to point this injustice out.

With this background, it is understandable that the Orissa CM Mr. Naveen Patnaik. decided not to ask your UPA government for anything. You and your government just can't be trusted. Your HRD minister will say he is positively inclined and that will become a NO. He will like the logic behind an idea and then allegedly steal it to his home state.

The above feeling goes beyond the ministers to the secretary level in Orissa. I personally have met some officers at Orissa secretariate who cringe when asking something from central govt. is mentioned. They feel it is of no use and a waste of time. To them central govt. is a bully and loves
harassing them asking for this document and that document, and finally
stealing their ideas to politically aligned states.


Finally, Mr. Ramesh, its a pity that, with your implications that
(a) Orissa not being a UPA allied state should not expect much and only UPA allied states can get the national institutes and (b) IITs have no impact on the location where they are located, you are also a member of
the National Advisory Council. With people like you at the helm of UPA and NAC, Orissa and as a result India has no hope. (You know for India to rise, all parts of it have to rise; not just the home town and states of the UPA ministers and states allied with UPA.) All the concerns and talk about equitable distribution, taking care of the deprived etc. that you and your government engages in is just talk. The actions speak otherwise.

All that matters is which group/state supports UPA and its ministers
and which does not. The state govt. that are allied will get the goodies and the others like Orissa, no matter how big a need they have, will be punished and things will be taken aways, ideas will be stolen, coal royalty rates will not be updated in time, etc.

Mr. Ramesh: Thank you for coming to Bhubaneswar and taking the blind out of the eyes of people of Orissa. They now know where they stand vis-a-vis your government. Hope the rest of India also knows about this.


an extremely sad and disappointed Oriya

Chitta Baral

24 institutes announced by MHRD during the UPA government: None in Orissa

  1. IISER Kolkata, West Bengal (1)
  2. IISER Pune, Maharashtra (1)
  3. IISER Mohali, Punjab (1)
  4. IISER in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (1)
  5. IISER in Thiruvanthapuram, Kerala (1)
  6. IIT in Andhra Pradesh (1)
  7. IIT in Rajasthan (1)
  8. IIT in Bihar (1)
  9. IIM at Shillong, Meghalaya (1)
  10. SPA in Vijaywada, Andhra Pradesh (2)
  11. SPA in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (2)
  12. Upgradation of Bengal Engineering and Sc U to an IIT clone (IIEST), West Bengal (2)
  13. Upgradation of Andhra Univ Engineering College to IIT clone (IIEST), Andhra Pradesh (3)
  14. Upgradation of Osmania Univ Engg College to IIT clone (IIEST), Andhra Pradesh (4)
  15. Upgradation of IT BHU to IIT clone (IIEST), Uttar Pradesh (1)
  16. Upgradation of Cochin Univ of Sc and Tech to IIT clone (IIEST), Kerala (2)
  17. IIIT Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu (1)
  18. Allahbad University made to a Central University, Uttar Pradesh (2)
  19. Manipur University made to a Central University, Manipur (1)
  20. Arunachal Pradesh university made to a Central University, Arunachal Pradesh (1)
  21. Tripura university made to a Central University, Tripura (1)
  22. New Central University in Sikkim, Sikkim (1)
  23. CIEFL Hyderabad made to a central university, Andhra Pradesh (5)
  24. Indira Gandhi Nationan Tribal University, Madhya Pradesh (3)
Per capita MHRD spending on its fully funded institutes

MHRD was scheduled to spend Rs 4.07 on fully funded HRD institutions
(like IITs, IIMs, etc.) per person in Orissa, while it will spend Rs 183.08 in
Delhi, Rs 41.20 in West Bengal, Rs 33.4 in Karnataka, Rs 27 in Tamil Nadu,
Rs 28.38 in Maharastra, Rs 17.73 in UP, Rs 16.05 in Andhra, Rs 33.27 in
Punjab, Rs 8.13 in Haryana, Rs 7.90 in Kerala, Rs 9.02 in MP,
Rs 4.87 in Gujurat, Rs 2.59 in Rajasthan, and Rs 1.87 in Bihar.
In other words Bihar, Rajasthan and Orissa were at the bottom
of per-capita spending by MHRD in its fully funded higher
education institutions. IITs have been given to Bihar and Rajasthan.
What happened to Orissa? Why was Orissa skipped over?

The statesman article about Mr. Jairam Ramesh's visit to Bhubaneswar

Time factor in fulfilling IIT dream

Statesman News Service
BHUBANESWAR, June 20: "Much as I am fond of CM Naveen Patnaik, much as I like him, I have to say that in all the time I spent talking about projects related to Orissa's export potential the only question that he asked was " how is Kamal," remarked Union minister of state for commerce Mr Jayaram Ramesh.
The Central minister's barb at the CM came when he was responding to questions on the alleged neglect of Orissa by the UPA government.
Listing out the various issues/projects he had raised during his meeting with the CM yesterday, Mr Jayaram Ramesh quipped ~ "all that the CM asked me was how is Kamal (Union minister Mr Kamal Nath). He (the CM) is a very busy man running a big state and he was frequently looking at his watch, added Mr Ramesh.
"I have met chief ministers who send e-mails placing their demand, who sit on my head and hammer their demands during discussions with me," he added rubbing home the implicit point that nothing of this sort took place at his meeting with Mr Naveen Patnaik.
Dismissing all talk of UPA government neglecting Orissa, Mr Ramesh said such charges are irresponsible and absurd. Nobody ever conspires to starve a state of funds, he retorted. "I do not want to score political points but what if I ask what were these people doing in all the six years that the NDA was in power. The IIT could have come up in six years time , what were you ( the BJD) doing when all that you needed was to take up the file to Mr Vajpayee and he would have signed it," shot back Mr Ramesh.
Repeatedly emphasising that he was one with the demand of the state for institutes of higher education, Mr Ramesh said at the same time, one should realise that an IIT will solve the problem of unemployment. Has Kanpur IIT contributed in any way to Kanpur? In fact, IITs have contributed more to the US economy than Indian economy, he remarked.
Reeling out figures of how Orissa had got the maximum assistance from the UPA government, Mr Ramesh said it is the only state in the country which is fully covered under the NREGA and Backward Region Grant put together. Be it the National rural health mission or any other Central programme, Orissa and other backward states have been accorded priority, he stated.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fax campaign against repeated injustice by MHRD

Dear Readers:

I hope many of you are enraged and disgusted by this repeated injustice meted out to Orissa by the MHRD; especially now it seems that the MHRD has orchestrated hijacking of a good, sensible and extremely relevant idea proposed by our chief minister: the idea of tribal central university in the KBK region with the goal of catering to the 50% tribal population in that area and 38% tribal population across Orissa.

Often many have blamed the Orissa government for not taking timely initiatives or not coming up with innovative ideas, but this time it took the initiative, it suggested a great idea, followed up on it regularly, but the end result is same; the idea gets implemented in the home state of the minister of HRD Mr. Arjun Singh.

We must convey our displeasure, disgust, deep disappointment and anger to the central government. Please fax a letter to the PMO (fax numbers: 011-2301-8668, 2301-5470, 2301-5603, 2301-8939 ) and also fax a copy of that letter to the CMO (0674-2400100 ) and Mr. Chandrasekhar Sahu (011-23061695), the sole central minister from Orissa. After that we must follow-up with the CMO ( by email and Mr. Sahu by phone (Personal Secy: 09868501233 off: 011-23792469, 23792470) and tell them to take our faxes and meet the PM and the national press with all our faxes and do a dharana until the two immediate injustices of moving an IIT in Orissa after it was announced and stealing the idea of a tribal university proposed for the KBK area are corrected. Following are some pointers and points which may help in writing your letter. I am making it short so that its easier for you to draft the letter.
On KBK Tribal Central University:

  • We have been keeping track of this in a blog of its own,, since the idea was first formally mooted in October 2005. See also the earlier postings in this site under that category.
  • Oct 24 2005: The CM meets the HRD minister Mr. Arjun Singh and proposes the idea of a KBK Central University and Mr. Singh appreciates the idea. Following is an excerpt of a press release that discusses it.
    • … In addition to this, Shri Patnaik also requested for establishment of a Central University for the KBK Region, which is one of the most backward regions in the country. He pointed out that there was a heavy concentration of the scheduled tribe and scheduled caste population in this region, which has a literacy rate below 50%. Shri Patnaik stated that setting up a Central University in the KBK region would go a long way in encouraging higher education among tribal population. He added that the university could also set up specialized centres for tribal development related studies, as tribal development was one of the biggest challenges facing the country today. Shri. Arjun Singh appreciated the rationale of having a Central University in the KBK region and sought a formal proposal in this regard from the State Government. He assured that this would receive high priority whenever the Central Government considers setting up of new central universities.
  • Since then the Orissa government and the representatives of Orissa have brought up this issue many many times.
  • A detailed proposal was sent by the Orissa government as well as by us.
  • Here is our proposal. (word, pdf) This document has lots of detailed statistics in case you may want to use some of it in your letter.
  • Hundred of us also sent letters about it to the PM, planning commission, etc. (word) This letter also has lots of detailed statistics in case you may want to use some of it in your letter.
  • The Hindu first reported on the plan for the tribal university in Madhya Pradesh. Following is an excerpt from it. One may compare this excerpt with the Orissa government press release on Oct 24 2005 and it becomes clear that the idea proposed by our CM was stolen.
    • … The Indira Gandhi National Tribal University will encourage studies on tribal art, culture and traditions, forests and natural resources. Tribal students will be given priority in admission. … The D. Swaminadhan Committee, set up by the University Grants Commission, recommended the setting up of a varsity exclusively for promoting tribal culture and providing tribals access to higher education.

On an IIT in Orissa:

This is also a good opportunity, we must remind the PM regarding the IIT for Orissa being announced and then getting shifted. Following are some pointers on that.

  • Mr. Arjun Singh himslef had also given word to the CM regarding a branch campus of IIT Kharagpur in Bhubaneswar. His meeting with the CM had been reported on September 29 2006 as follows: The Chief Minister, Orissa, Shri Naveen Patnaik met the Union Minister for Human Resources development, Shri Arjun Singh today to discuss about the establishment of a campus of IIT, Kharagpur in Orissa. Shri Patnaik stated that the Government of Orissa have offered 300 acres of land next to Bhubaneswar city for setting up the campus and the State Government is fully committed to provide all necessary assistance for the institution. Since Orissa is fast emerging as a hub for industrial activities, an institution of the stature of IIT will provide the much needed boost to the efforts of the Government in providing support to these industries. The Union Minister, Shri Arjun Singh stated that the Central Government is positively inclined for setting up such an institution soon.
  • More points.


Pioneer: Arjun hijacks plans for KBK varisty

Pioneer and don’t mince words when they have articles with headlines “Arjun hijacks plans for KBK varsity” and “Arjun hijacks Naveen’s plans.” With permission from the author I am including the full Pioneer article below.

[If you are outraged by this you may write to various people (PM etc.; Orissa MPs; national editors; accredited media in Delhi) and send a fax to Mr. Chandrasekhar Sahu ( Personal Secy: 09868501233 off: 011-23792469,23792470 Fax 011-23061695), the sole central minister from Orissa. May be he has a spine and he will take the letters to the PM and do a dharana there.]
Arjun hijacks plans for KBK varisty

Braja Kishore Mishra | Bhubaneswar

… Union Cabinet gives nod for setting up institution in MP

Union Minister for Human Resources and Development Arjun Singh has once again humiliated Orissa by hijacking its original plan to set up a Central Tribal University in the KBK region comprising the State’s undivided districts of Koaraput, Balangir and Kalahandi.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, while meeting the Minister in 2005 October (typo corrected), had mooted the idea of setting up a KBK central university. It was based on the theory of empowerment of tribals with higher education.

Patnaik had pleaded with the Central authorities that the concentration of tribals is the highest in KBK and their uplift hinged on education. He had pointed out that the literacy rate among the people of this region was much below 50 per cent.

He had argued that setting up a Central University in the region would go a long way in encouraging higher education among the tribal population. The university could also set up specialised centres for tribal development-related studies, as tribal development is one of the biggest challenges facing the country today.

While Arjun Singh had promised Patnaik in clear terms that his HRD Ministry would positively consider the proposal, the result is now otherwise. The Union Cabinet on Friday gave its approval for establishment of the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh with Central Government funding.

It also approved introduction of the Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Bill, 2007 in Parliament. This will ensure establishment of a teaching and affiliating university for facilitating and promoting avenues of higher education and research facilities for the tribal population of the country.

Apart from affiliating the colleges, the university has the power to establish such number of its own regional centres in tribal areas as it may deem fit.

There will be at least one school in every regional centre to serve as a model school for the schools of the region, wherefrom the tribal students would be expected to join the local colleges, the off-campuses or the university. The objectives of the university include promoting studies and research in tribal art, culture, tradition, language, custom, medicinal systems, forest based economic activities, including special studies in the flora and fauna, and advancements in technologies relating to natural resources of the tribal areas.

Now, it is abundantly clear that Singh not only hijacked Patnaik’s idea but also saw to it that Orissa would never get a Central University in the KBK region on the lines of huge tribal concentration. Since the UPA is at the helm of affairs at the Centre, Singh is playing havoc with Orissa and the State is losing one after another national institutions to other States. While Minister of State of HRD MA Fatmi had announced a proposal to set up an IIT in Orissa, it was later shifted to Andhra Pradesh by Singh, on political considerations, said sources.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Patnaik sets agenda well ahead of polls

BHUBANESWAR: Naveen Patnaik, the Orissa chief minister and the party supremo of ruling Biju Janata Dal has set the agenda for the state assembly elections well ahead of two years.

“The Centre’s Congress-led UPA government is the enemy of Orissa’’, thundered Patnaik, in his usual style of throwing surprises, at a meeting recently at Berhampur in Southern Orissa . Announcing that his party will launch a massive campaign against the Centre’s neglect to the state, he urged his party men to take the message to the grass root level.

Patnaik’s list of Centre’s neglect to the state includes shifting of IIT to Andhra Pradesh , delay in coal royalty revision, paltry flood assistance, slow progress in setting up the All India Medical Science campus at Bhubaneswar, and poor fund allocation for the rural electrification. To run down the UPA government, the chief minister promptly announced Biju Gram Jyoti Yojna to electrify the villages and hamlets with population below 300 as the Centre’s Rajiv Gramin Vidyut Yojna does not cover these villages. Not only that the state government provided Rs.50 crore in the budget 2007-08.

Patnaik turning to be a rebel was unthinkable. For, he was basking under the praise showered by the UPA’s Congress ministers like Shivraj Patil, Mani Sankar Iyer during the last three years. Such was the situation that many in Orissa were believing that Patnaik, a Doon school mate of Rajiv Gandhi, has a 10 Janpath connections.

His recent rhetoric, however, has put the Congress leaders in the state in a piquant situation. They are not a in position to attack Patnaik for the party’s Central ministers have given certificates to Naveen government in the recent past.

The opposition Congress in the state was virtually pushed to defensive. Its leaders tried to defend the UPA government’s role vis-a-vis the state government. The Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president, Jaydev Jena,” The state has immensely benefited from the UPA government at the Centre”, says Jaydev Jena , the president of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC). “ Naveen’s new stand against Centre is only to divert his government failure”, he adds. Jena listed out the largesse the Centre has given to the state to drive home his point . According to him, the UPA government has included the Long Term Action Plan for KBK region in the 11th Plan period, extended the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme extended to another five districts, and it has decided to set up institute of national importance like the National Institute for Science and Education Research (NISER) at Bhubaneswar and the National Institute of Handloom Technology (NIHT) at Bargarh. His list also includes the Centre’s initiative to start the work of the Paradip Petro-chemical complex.

JB Patnaik, who ruled the state nearly 15 years, also came out with statistics to defend the Congress government at the Centre. Pointing out that the state has got a higher annual plan outlay under the UPA government, he says that the plan outlay has been increased to Rs 5105 crore as against the state’s proposal for Rs 4850 crore in 2007-08.

In 2006-07, the same has been increased to Rs 3500 crore from Rs 3400 crore. The previous year, the outlay was increased to Rs 3000 crore from the proposed Rs 2800 crore by the Planning commission. Drawing a comparison with the NDA government, the former chief minister says that the state has received lesser plan outlay between 2001-02 and 2004-05. The plan outlay was cut to Rs 2500 crore from Rs.3300 crore in 2004-05 and to Rs 3200 crore from Rs.3300 in 2003-04.

In fact, the tone for the state Congress was set by the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of Orissa, V.Narayan Swami. He urged the Congressmen to attack the chief minister Naveen Patnaik. He gave a call for a massive campaign to highlight misrule and non-performance of the Naveen Patnaik government.

The state elections is due in May 2009. But, it is clear from now that the next elections will be fought on the issue of Centre’s attitude towards the state.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tathya: Plz; no politics over IIT

Playing politics over setting up of an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) will harm the state, warned the Non Resident Oriyas(NRO)s.

While the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is playing truant over the issue, it is high time both Congress, BJD and BJP join hands to pressurize the Centre to agree for an IIT in Orissa.

NROs have sent hundreds of e-mail to the leaders of various political parties appealing for a joint action.

An IIT was announced for Orissa by the HRM Minister of State (MOS) M A Fatmi last year on Aug 28 in Patna.

Orissa will now be at the bottom of per-capita spending by MHRD on fully funded MHRD institutions.

With the very high level of industrialization and the 40+engineering colleges in Orissa (with about 30 of them in and around Bhubaneswar) there is a definite need for an IIT in Orissa which will allow faculty in these institutes to pursue M.Tech and/or Ph.D thus drastically improving those institutes as well as their graduates.

Many MPs of Orissa have raised the issue of IIT in Orissa in the parliament, the CM has met the HRD minister on this issues and it is reported that PCC President Jayadev Jena and Union Minister of State (MOS) Chandraskehar Sahu has met the PM on this issue.

Various groups all over Orissa have protested on the IIT issue and the newspapers have covered this issue so much so that a kid in a bettele shop in a small town Orissa knows about this.

However nothing concrete has come out of it and now while BJD and BJP are attacking the center for general neglect of Orissa, Congress has launched its own counter-attacks.

Both have forgotten that by this time other states with a united approach have received 23 new MHRD institutions with Kerala getting both a science institute IISER and a technology institute IIST (Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology), Andhra receiving an IIT, a SPA and, possibly two additional IIT clones, and so on.

Under these circumstances the people of Orissa would like to remind all parties and especially, Congress and the BJD and BJP that the IIT Orissa is neither a Congress nor a BJP& BJD party matter; it is something that Orissa needs desperately.

It is a mega investment for Orissa; which has the potential changing the higher education atmosphere of Orissa; it is an attractor of high paying, high spending, low land guzzling, and low polluting jobs; the kind of jobs Orissa needs.

We urge and warn Congress and BJP & BJD to work together on it and not just make it an issue of political tug of war.

We want the CM and the Union minister Mr. Sahu to jointly and immediately meet the PM, HRD minister and the planning commission on this issue.

We want an all party resolution in the assembly and a All Party Legislators delegation to immediately visit Delhi and camp in Delhi to make the case.

We want whatever possible to be done so that Orissa is allocated an IIT in the 11th plan, said NROs.

We are sure that if joint teams pursue this earnestly then the Central Government will have not other way but to grant Orissa an IIT in the 11th plan.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Pioneer: Cong on backfoot over IIT issue

Braja Kishore Mishra | Bhubaneswar

State Congress leaders are on a face saving mode. Failure on their part to impress the UPA Government at the Centre to set up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) will have a humiliating effect on them, feel political analysts.

As the Budget Session of the State Assembly began on Friday, the leading Opposition party will face a determined Treasury Bench on various issues in general and that of IIT in particular, they say.

While the Gen X of the State is eagerly waiting for an IIT, the State Congress and its leaders have miserably failed to raise the issue and now some of its leaders are busy in patchworks.

After returning from New Delhi, PCC president Jayadev Jena said, "Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has agreed to visit Orissa soon as he has requested him to visit the State shortly and review several ongoing Centrally-sponsored welfare programmes."

There was a similar report about Union Minister of State for Rural Development Chandrasekhar Sahu meeting the Prime Minister and making him agree to come to the State to announce some new institutes such as Indian Institute of Handloom Technology.

A comparison of an IIT with the Indian Institute of Handloom Technology (IIHT) in terms of investment is now being made. An analyst pointed out that as per the budget of the Department of Textiles, the total money for human resource development is Rs 3 crore. It seems that this Rs 3 crore includes the Budget for four existing handloom institutes in the country and probably the new one proposed at Bargarh in Orissa. In contrast, there is Rs 80 crore towards the groundwork for three new IITs and Rs 1,553 crore for the existing seven IITs. So, the annual Budget of an existing IIT is Rs 222 crore, while for an IIHT is at best Rs 1 crore.

Similarly, it takes Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 4,000 crore to make an IIT, while a handloom institute would be costing Rs 5 crore to Rs10 crore at best. IITs offer B.Tech, M.Tech and Ph.Ds and IIHT offers only diplomas. There is a genuine and urgent need for a topnotch IIT-type technological institute in the State.

Just in and around Bhubaneswar, there are 30-plus engineering colleges, but it has been alleged that the faculties of most of them are sub-standard. An IIT-type institute will allow these engineering colleges to send their faculties for a higher degree, thus having a huge impact on these colleges and their students. So, the State desperately and immediately needs an IIT or an equivalent institute, argue knowledgeable circles.

Sitting at a distance of thousands of miles in the USA and other countries, the non-resident Oriyas (NROs) impressed upon the BJD and BJP MPs to raise the issue of IIT in Parliament. The MPs of both parties and their NDA partners boycotted Lok Sabha recently in support of an IIT in the State. But Congress MPs both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha kept mum.

The other day when Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly JB Patnaik was asked about IIT, he said that the State Government is not serious about the issue as it has not sent any formal proposal to open an IIT in the Centre. But what prohibits him to raise the issue and impress the Prime Minister for an IIT, his critics ask.

This weakness of the Congress has not only made a serious dent in its image among the educated youth of the State but given an added advantage to the ruling coalition to ride a roughshod on the Opposition party during the month-long Assembly session, feel political observers.