Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 3:
The Odisha government has announced the setting up of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) at Brahmapur prior to identifying land, temporary campus and most importantly before the Central team’s survey necessary to zero in on the site.
Now the question arises, if the state government could announce the proposed location of a Central institute as in the case of IISER then why did it not do in the case of selection of the Odisha Indian Institute of Management (IIM)?
For IIM, there were clear guidelines that the proposed site should have rail, road and air connectivity among other basic infrastructural facilities. However, the state government asked the district collectors to identify 200 acres land in four districts in first phase and two in second phase.
The government had sought report from places were demand for the premier B-school gained momentum. Accordingly, the concerned collectors had given their reports to it. After evaluating the guidelines, the government had recommended Bhubaneswar as the proposed site for IIM.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik, in a letter to Union HRD minister Smriti Irani, had said that the Centre had asked state government for its opinion in setting up the IIM in Western Odisha, particularly in Sambalpur region. The HRD ministry had asked the state government to identify a location close to an airport. The proposed IIM in Sambalpur was finalised after the state government gave its assurance to Centre that it would develop and operationalise the Jharsuguda airport within one year.
There was widespread agitation at various parts of the state demanding setting up of the proposed IIM.
While the guidelines for setting up of IISER are almost same as those laid down for IIM, the hasty announcement of the proposed institute at Brahmapur has surprised many. The reason being: the land for the premier educational institute hasn’t been identified yet and the process for selecting the temporary campus, which will offer facilities for three years, hasn’t taken off.
It is obvious that the state government is playing politics over IISER. If the Centre accepts Brahmapur as the location for IISER then it will take all the credit for this. On the flip side, it will blame the Centre dubbing it as apathy towards its, political pundits said.
Though the fate of the state government declared site is unknown, the Silk City is in a festive mood since its announcement.
After Bhubaneswar and Rourkela topped the list under the Smart City scheme, the chances of Sambalpur, Brahmapur and Cuttack finding the place in the list is skewed. The demand for inclusion of Sambalpur in the list has slowed down post announcement of IIM in the western Odisha city. The agitation in the Silver City has already gained steam with the lawyers associations boycotting court proceedings and meeting chief secretary to press for their demands. Besides, several outfits have also called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh today in favour of their demands. Sensing that agitation for Smart City tag may intensify in Brahmapur, the state government hurriedly announced IISER at the business hub of southern Odisha, analysts said.
While announcing the IISER location, the Employment & Technical Education & Training (ET & T) Minister Sanjay Dasburma neither specified the Central guidelines nor the location of the proposed site. The chief minister has picked up Brahmapur based on the recommendations of a high-level committee, Dasburma said.
Notably, the state government will provide 200 acres of land for the institute and admissions to the institute will begin from 2016-17 academic year.