Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Netizens of Orissa have won again. The Central Government has accepted their demand and has declared to establish one IIT, one world-class University and a Central University in Orissa during the 11th Five Year Plan. When Bhubaneswar has been declared the seat of the world-class University, choice of site for the IIT and the Central University has been left to the State Government.
But the Department of Higher Education under the Ministry of HRD has made it clear that notwithstanding the decision, establishment of these centers of academic excellence “is subject to State Government offering adequate land at suitable locations, free of cost, for the purpose”.
Orissa had lost the National Institute of Science to West Bengal, as the State Government did not offer land for it in time. That the Science Institute finally came to us in the form of National Institute of Science Education & Research is because of unprecedented campaign by the netizens of Orissa whereto the MPs, the Assembly, the entire Oriya intelligentsia irrespective of land of residence had added their total support. Had netizens not taken up the issue, Navin administration was so negligent, the central government could not have been compelled to establish the NISER in Orissa.
In view of this experience it is essential that the State Government rise promptly to the occasion and offer land for the three Institutes without loss of time.
On enquiry it transpires that it is news to the Higher Education Department of Government of Orissa. This indicates that the State Government has no concern as yet for these Central Institutes. The Union Ministry of HRD has never come to the decision to offer these Institutes to various States including Orissa overnight. In fact, central decision to establish eight IITs has long since been on records inasmuch as locations of four of them, one each in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh have already been announced. Had Orissa Government acted watchfully, taking the cue, it should have already kept the lands ready to offer for the purpose. But busy in finding and offering land to Anil Agrawal, Ravishankar gangs it has not yet thought of locating and reserving land for the Central Institutes and Universities.
The Central Government, in a press release today, has stated, “actual establishment of these institutions would however depend, among other things, on how quickly the concerned State Government responds by allotting adequate land at suitable locations”.
Navin Patnaik should try to read this statement between the lines. Netizens have won; let it not be lost due to his negligence.