Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 10:
With media reports suggesting that the Odisha government has more or less decided on Bhubaneswar as the location for the proposed Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in the state, protest agaist the move is spreading in other claimants to the premier institute.
After a five-day strike in the southern city of Berhampur, it was the turn of Sambalpur today to raise the banner of revolt today.
Groups with support from local political leaders today organized a human chain in Sambalpur in support of the demand for settign up the proposed IIM in the western Odisha city. The protesters have given a Sambalpur bandh call tomorrow in support of their demand.
The vociferous demand by civil society organisations and political leaders from backward areas to locate the IIM in these areas had forced the government to form a panel to decide on the probable locations.
For the record, the Odisha government has not yet made its preference known. Sources in the government said the file pertaining to the site recommendation is pending with the chief minister’s office and the state government will send its recommendation to the Centre in a day or two.
However, the sources concede that given the Union HRD ministry’s stipulation that the selected location should be reachable from the nearest airport within an hour, besides having good railway connectivity with super fast trains, there was very little choice in the matter but to opt for Bhubaneswar.
What has convinced people in other regions that the gvernment has all but zeroed in on Bhubaneswar is the fact that it has already identified three locations for the proposed institute on the outskirts of the capital city. They are near the IIIT at Gothapatna, near the IIT Bhubaneswar campus at Arugul and the IDCO land between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
Meanwhile, BJD spokesperson Samir Das came out in support of the government’s reported preference for Bhubaneswar saying the November 7 guidelines of the HRD ministry, sent to all states where the proposed IIMs are to be set up, left very little room for manoeuvre.
“The Centre’s guidelines issued on November 7 specifically state that the site should be so located that it can be reached from the airport within an hour. It should also have execellent rail connectivity. Since we have one airport in our state and superfast trains like Rajdhani Express run from Bhubaneswar, it is the only option available with the state government,” Dash told reporters here.
IIM Odisha has already been added as a choice for candidates appearing the Common Aptitude Test (CAT) this month.