He has reportedly bowed to pressure within his own party

Siddaramaiah does u-turn on IIT recommends Raichur to centre
news Monday, September 21, 2015 - 18:59

Following strident opposition to the IIT being set up in Dharwad, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has urged the Ministry of Human Resources and Development to reconsider Raichur as the location for the premier institute.

After the union ministry chose Dharwad as the location for the IIT over two other options namely Raichur and Mysuru, there were protests all over Hyderabad-Karnataka. Political leaders from all parties expressed their disappointment that the most backward region of the state had been ignored.

On September 16, Siddaramaiah wrote to minister Smriti Irani, urging her to reconsider her decision. Quoting the letter, The Hindu reported that Siddaramaiah had pointed out to the centre that Dharwad had already been allotted an IIIT, and that the IIT should ideally be sanctioned for Raichur, which is the one of the most backward districts in the state.

Raichur is part of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, which was under the administrative control of Hyderabad state before linguistic re-organization of states and with the Nizam of Hyderabad before Independence. For various reasons, the region has remained backward to this day on health, education and economic indicators.

In an interview with The News Minute, head of the IIT Horata Samiti Basavaraj Kalasa explained why the people of the region were demanding the premier institute for not the district, but for indirect development that would accrue to the whole region.

Read: IIT is our right, BJP man in Raichur explains why they will put up a fight

Siddaramaiah wrote: “As you are aware, a decision was taken earlier to set up an IIIT at Dharwad. Keeping this in view, and also Raichur being the district headquarters located in the backward Hyderabad Karnataka backward region enjoying special status under Article 371-J of the Constitution, it would be appropriate to establish the proposed IIT in Raichur. This will help in balanced regional development to which our State is committed.”

The Times of India reported that Siddaramaiah would rather have recommended the IIT for his home district of Mysuru but has bowed to popular pressure to throw his weight behind Raichur.