Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/Bhubaneswar, June 24:
Ending the prolonged suspense over the site of the proposed Indian Institute of Management ( IIM) in Odisha, the Union Cabinet today decided to locate the premier institute at Sambalpur.
Making the announcement after the cabinet meeting this afternoon, Union minister Ravishankar Prasad said classes in the Sambalpur IIM would begin from the current academic year (2015-16).
A total of 140 students would be admitted to each of the six new IIMs, including Sambalpur, he said.
“The Union Cabinet has approved a plan to set up of six more Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). The locations of the premier management institutes will be in Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Bodh Gaya (Bihar), Sirmaur (Himachal Pradesh), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Sambalpur (Odisha) and Amritsar (Punjab),” said Prasad.
“A total 140 students each will be admitted to the six IIMs, including the one at Sambalpur, and courses will start from this year; 2015-16. Budgetary allocations for the same have been made. We have asked the state governments to provide land for the projects and we will take up the construction responsibilities,” he added.
The institutes will be operational from this academic year 2015-2016. Ahead of last year’s online registration for Common Admission Test (CAT) for management courses, the CAT website had said that the students could apply to the new institutes.
With the addition of six new institutes, the total number of IIMs in the country will go up to 19. At present, there are IIMs at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Lucknow, Kozhikode, Indore, Shillong, Tiruchirappalli, Raipur, Udaipur, Rohtak, Ranchi and Kashipur.
All the existing 13 IIMs in the country have started giving offer letters for admission to candidates from this academic year (2015-16). Elsewhere, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh are ready with their temporary campuses while Bihar, Odisha and Punjab are yet to finalise theirs.
The Odisha Government has expressed its satisfaction over the decision of the Union Cabinet.
“I am relieved and wish to thank the Union HRD minister for this announcement. I am also thankful to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for all the lobbying. The Union HRD ministry, after visiting the Sambalpur location, had asked us to make improvements on communication and we had immediately agreed to it,” said Sanjay Dasburma, Minister of Employment, Technical Education and Training (ETET).
“Sambalpur is well-connected via rail and road. It is a well-developed area of Western Odisha. We know it doesn’t have air connectivity as of now, but it takes time to develop infrastructure. As of now, it would be dependent on Jharsuguda airport,” he added while answering a question on air connectivity.
As news of the decision on Sambalpur as the location for the IIM spread, the wetsren Odisha city erupted in joy.
“We welcome the decision of the Union cabinet. We are thankful to the Union and state government, officials and everyone who supported us. It is a day of victory for us and everyone in Western Odisha. We had been fighting for this to come up in Sambalpur for over a year now. It shows that if the people of Western Odisha stick together, nothing is impossible for them,” said Aditya Padhi of Westen Odisha People Forum, which had been demanding IIM-Odisha to come up in Sambalpur.
The academia, however, is not much impressed with the decision and sees it as politically motivated.
“Even though it is a matter of great pride to have an IIM in Odisha, I am concerned about the quality of education here. Its future looks bleak to me. For an institute of IIM’s stature, international collaboration and industry interface is a must. I don’t think Sambalpur offers that kind of facilities. Without an international airport, I don’t think visiting professors would be too interested to travel this long a distance to Sambalpur. Moreover, higher ranking students, that are essential for the future of an institute, might not like to move to Sambalpur over other IIMs that are located in convenient places. Bhubaneswar would have made better sense,” said Satya Dash, a professor of IIM Lucknow.
Notably, a four-member central team had come to Sambalpur on a two-day visit on June 20 and inspected the proposed permanent and temporary campuses in Sambalpur. They had expressed their satisfaction over the sites selection.The team had said that it will submit its report on June 25.
But the decision of the Union cabinet came a day ahead of the submission of the report.