news Monday, March 16, 2015 - 05:30
|The News Minute | March 16, 2015 | 5:38 p.m. IST | The 17-year wait for an IIT in Karnataka finally ended with the Union Budget address by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The site for the proposed institution is already a bone of contention with several cities in the fray.The location of the proposed institution has been much debated with Bengaluru being reportedly mooted by many as a logical choice. Not Bengaluru? According to a report in the Times of India, the higher education minister for the state, R.V. Deshpande voiced his opinion on the matter. “We need at least 500 acres of land in the city, which is difficult. There are merits and demerits of setting it up in Bengaluru”, he said. Deshpande also reportedly mentions the need of having “adequate infrastructure” as “academicians from all over the globe will come”. The minister also reportedly didn’t take the names of the places being discussed, only adding that the decision would be taken by the state cabinet. Chickballapur: The demand for Chickballapur to have the IIT was also put forth by its MP, M. Veerappa Moily, close to ten days ago. A report in The Hindu quoted him as saying, “About 200 acres were acquired for the Advanced Technology and Research Centre of Visweswaraya Technological University (VTU) at Muddenahalli, the birthplace of eminent engineer M. Visweswaraya.” He reportedly added that another 300 acres could be allotted and that he would take the issue up with the centre. The site, close to Kempegowda International Airport offers the benefit of connectivity too. In 2009, the state minister for HRD at the time, Kabil Sibal, had ruled out an IIT for Karnataka while also questioning the state government’s motives when he said that they were setting it up for “political purposes”. Belagavi: In 2010, the former Chief Minister of the state, B.S. Yeddyurappa, had written to the prime minister at the time, Manmohan Singh, requesting the institution be set up in Belagavi. The BJP leader was then quoted by The Hindu as saying that “as Bangalore (now Bengaluru) is already overcrowded with educational institutions, setting up an IIT at Belgaum will be helpful for students”. The demand for Belagavi to have the proposed institution was also voiced in 2009 by Abhay Patil, who was the MLA from Belagavi south at the time. He had reportedly organised a human chain stretching 16km for supporting cause and had also sent an appeal to the UPA government at the time with signatures of 127 legislators. The situation has since changed with the BJP coming into power at the Centre and a Congress government in Karnataka.  Dharwad: Dharwad, an educational hub on its own, also has a claim for having the institution set up there after the Union HRD minister S. R. Bommai made the proposal to the Centre in the 90s. After the NDA came into power at the Centre, a group of leaders, reportedly led by the former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, state BJP president, and MP Prahlad Joshi, met the HRD minister Smriti Irani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the issue. The delegation had reportedly submitted a memorandum while making a case for Dharwad’s cause. Raichur: The call for establishing an IIT also comes from Raichur with members of several political parties, social activists, legislators and academics gathered on March 6 to issue six reasons to the government that would convince them to set up the institution there. Activists from the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike also reportedly organised a motorcycle rally in support a week ago. According to a report in The Hindu, the former Rajya Sabha member Abdus Samad Siddiqui offered his opinion on the issue. “Bengaluru has reached a saturation point and that makes Raichur a natural choice. The city has historically known for harmony with the peaceful coexistence of different communities, which is a conducive environment for institutions like IIT,” he said. Mysuru: Mysuru, which is also a centre for education, has its name in the mix with KRS Murthy, the former director of IIM-B, stating his reason to the Times of India. “Bengaluru already has many engineering colleges. If we look long-term, there's a need for reputed institutes in every district. I would prefer IIT in a city like Mysuru”, he told the newspaper. The concern of the HRD ministry reportedly seems also not of satisfying regional concerns with the TOI report adding that the major concerns of the ministry were ensuring connectivity and the presence of service sector units and industries in the area. Also in the mix are Manguluru and Bengaluru Rural. What U.R. Rao has to say: It was a committee headed by former ISRO chairman U. R. Rao in its report in 1998 that recommended an IIT to be set up in Hubli-Dharwad.In a recent interview to The News Minute, Rao had said that, “They (various political parties and groups) should forget about a push for this place or that place. If an IIT has to be effective, it has to be located in the right place”. Although the committee headed by Rao had initially recommended an IIT for Karnataka, the state government had rejected the suggestion arguing that the state already had an IISc, and IIM and even a central university. Incidentally, the committee had been set up when H D Deve Gowda was the prime minister, who had been campaigning for the IIT to be set up in Hassan. Several years later, in 2009, during the 11th five-year plan the government gave in-principle approval but later withdrew its decision.  Then another committee headed by CNR Rao also batted for Karnataka, but the state lost out to Andhra Pradesh.  With several candidates across political parties making claims of getting the IIT “home”, where IIT Karnataka finally ends up is still a matter of much debate. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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