Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Letter from Bhubaneswar people to MPs
The Hon’ble Members of Parliament
Sub: Setting up of a National Institute of Science in Orissa
Dear Esteemed Member of Parliament:
The Government of India has recently approved a proposal to set up two institutes of Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) in Pune and Kolkota. We would like to bring to your kind attention the fact that, way back in December 2003, the then Human Resource Development Minister had announced the formation of four National Institute of Sciences (NIS) in Chennai, Bhubaneswar, Pune and Allahabad. Unfortunately, in the recently announced list of IISERs, the name of Bhubaneswar has been dropped and deemed unfit for the establishment of an IISER.
Sir, it is extremely unfair and unjust that a previously announced decision to locate NIS at Bhubaneswar has not been implemented. Orissa, as you know, does not have any central university, or any institute of national repute like IIT, IIM, IIIT or ISI, etc. It also does not have any reputed autonomous science and technology institution funded by Government of India. On the other hand, Orissa being the most backward state in India, often the need for a research institution, which can help develop proper growth strategies linking the development needs of the state with that of the available resources, has been mooted. This calls for a scientific approach and the need for an institute that envisages offering “education and teaching in basic science totally integrated with the state-of-the-art research”.
Orissa has often been a victim of negligible educational investment from the Central Government. It was deprived of an IIT just after Independence. In recent years, Bhubaneswar has come up as a major information technology hub for software industry. When all other major IT cities have either an IIT or IIIT in the city or close by, Bhubaneswar in particular and Orissa in general, do not boast of such facilities either. However, institutes like Institute of Life Sciences, Institute of Physics, etc. are some of the bright examples of the State’s ability to sustain and flourish research and educational institutes of high standard. Setting up of an NIS/IISER in Bhubaneswar/Orissa will fulfill the long standing demand of a central government funded institute in the state and can act as a change agent in the development of the state.
Our Indian system of proportinal representation makes smaller states like Orissa susceptible to injustice and neglect by the Centre. That is where, we expect statesmen like you to lead and make sure that resources are fairly distributed, and interest of economically backward states like Orissa are protected. In a recent, the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has refered to regional imbalance in case of educational institutions and has urged the state governments to strongly deal with such issues. According to newspaper reports, the Chief Minister of Orissa, has written to the Prime Minister on this issue. He has also talked to Mr. Arjun Singh who seems to be positive on this issue. In this context, we expect that the honourable members of Parliament will also have a more empathetic approach towards setting up of an NIS/IISER in Orissa and raise this issue in the Parliament vigorously in the interest of Orissa.
The issue of relocating NIS/ IISER from Orissa has perturbed many Oriyas, both within and outside the state (including a number of Non-resident Oriyas who have been continuously harping on the issue through e-signature campaigns, blogspot, writing protest letters and so on). A number of prominent individuals under the aegis of Agami Odisha, which is a people’s movement association of Oriyas at the grassroots, have been meeting periodically to voice their grievances in the said issue. Agamee Odisha has conducted a series of events on this issue including one convention of the intellectuals and another convention of the students where the Oriyas at large have expressed their anguish over this decision. It has been largely felt by each Oriya, cutting across the party affiliation, regional affiliation, caste/creed/age bias, that Orissa must not be deprived of its due and the Central Government must adhere to their own declaration of setting up of an NIS in Orissa. Hence, we would like to urge all our MPs, across party lines, to pursue seriously the case of NIS for Orissa, as it is a case of sheer negligence of our state by the Central Government.