Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 23:
People of Western Odisha region are let down by the decision of the Centre which has finally decided to set up the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bhubaneswar.
The Union HRD ministry has already made up its mind in this regard as per the recommendation of the Central Committee that since the state capital fulfils all infrastructure criteria for setting up of the institute, there will be no consideration for selection of site in other cities of the state, reliable sources said.
It may be mentioned that the Union HRD minister Smriti Irani, in a letter to the state government had proposed for alternative site in western Odisha, particularly in the Sambalpur region, for the institute subject to relaxation in Central guideline.
Responding to the letter, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, in a letter to the Union minister on March 2 this year, had said the state government would strongly recommend Sambalpur as the location for the IIM if the Centre is willing to relax its guideline.
The communication between the Centre and the state government on this had triggered a wave of joy among the people of western Odisha. However, the sudden volte face of the Centre has dampened their spirit.
Sources close the HRD ministry said the ministry, under the influence of a ‘powerful’ bureaucrat in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had sought opinion from the state government to set up the institute in Sambalpur.
It was not known as to how this bureaucrat, while aware of the fact that the institute cannot come up in Sambalpur as the city does not have an airport, could influence the ministry and under whose instance.
Besides, those who had influenced this bureaucrat were also aware that the institute cannot come up in Sambalpur.
Though the state government was also aware of this, it had responded to the options given by the ministry instead of sticking to its decision, the sources added.