Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Letter to the prime minister from intellectuals of Bhubaneswar

The Hon’ble Mr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister Of India
New Delhi

Sub: Setting up of National Institute of Science in Orissa

Dear Esteemed Prime Minister:

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, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, and Mr. Arjun Singh to lead and make sure that resources are fairly distributed, and interest of economically backward states like Orissa are protected. Your recent address, where you have refered to regional imbalance in case of educational institutions and urged the state governments to strongly deal with such issues, is surely praiseworthy. According to newspaper reports, the Chief Minister of Orissa, has written to you 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 you will also have a more empathetic approach towards setting up of an NIS/IISER in 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. A group of delegates, on behalf of Agamee Odisha, comprising of intellectuals, academia, students’ leaders, film personalities, businessmen, retired bureaucrats, representing the broader civil society, would like to meet you and put forth their views on this issue at your kind convenience. The list of delegates is attached.


Supriti Mishra

On behalf of Agamee Odisha

Copy to: 1. Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson, UPA

2. Mr. Arjun Singh, Minister of HRD

3. Mr.Navin Pattanaik, the Chief Minister of Orissa

List of Delegates

1. Dr. Digambar Mishra,
Prof. of Political Science & Dean of Social & Behavioural Sciences
University of Alabama

2. Dr. Pandav Nayak
Ex-Vice Chancellor, Utkal University
Professor, Indiara Gandhi National Open University
New Delhi

3. Dr. Ajit Kumar Mohanty
Professor, Psychology
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi

4. Dr. Radhakant Nayak
MP, Rajya Sabha

5. Ms. Nandita Das
Cine Artist and Social Activist

6. Padmashree D. P. Pattnaik
Noted Linguist and Social Activist

7. Mr. Dhiren Kumar Ray
Former Director General, Income Tax

8. Mr. Abasara Beuria
Retired IFS & Former Indian Ambassador

9. Mr. Sahadev Sahoo
Former Chief Secretary, Orissa

10.Dr. Santosh Kumar Tripathy
Reader, Dept. of PM & IR
Utkal University, Orissa

11. Mr. Sudarshan Das
Register, KIIT Deemed University

12. Ms. Supriti Mishra
Development Professional
Research Scholar, IIT, Kharagpur

13. Pranab Prakash Sahu
Utkal University Students’ Union

14. Prof. S. Mishra
Former Director, Institute of Physics
three cheers to the intellectuals of orissa
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