Tuesday, November 15, 2005
A response to MP Mr. Baijayanta Panda
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Date: Nov 15, 2005 9:56 AM
Subject: Re: Baijayant Panda BJD says MPs of Orissa will take up the matter during the forthcoming session of parliament.
Dear Mr. Panda:
Thank you for your mail.
But I am sorry to say that it gives the impression that you, other MPs and the CM still do not realize the importance and gravity of the matter; or at least the actions that you have taken or planning to take does not show that you are treating it with the seriousness it deserves
When a thief steals something from your house in broad daylight and you see him standing outside you do not send a letter to the police, and send another and another. You and your neighbour go after and catch the thief or immediately call the police or drive to the police station to get the police's attention. And if the local police station wallah does not listen, you call the DSP, SP, IG, whatever.
In this case a 500 crore previously announced institute was taken away (some would say stolen) in broad daylight, and that too from a state that has nothing (in terms of centrally funded higher education institution). As far as we can see, the letters by the CM have not had any impact. We, the people of Orissa, whereever we now reside, have been doing all we can in a non-violent and civil manner, as we can not tolerate this gross injustice, this taking away (again, some would say, stealing) of our only hope so far, after having been neglected for years. You, the MPs and the CM, the custodians of Orissa's interest have been sending letters and waiting for the parliament to convene. Then you will say something; it will go into the parliament record, and that is where it often ends. May be in the best case the HRD Ministry will say that they will look into it. We have great respect towards our parliament, but this calls for more immediate action through media.
Considering the urgency and the importance of the situation why can not you, the MPs and the CM:
-- Write op-ed pieces in all national newspapers about this and expose this redistribution (some would say thievery; see details at http://iiser.blogspot.com/) to the whole of India.
We tried but the national newspapers won't publish our letters. Perhaps regional balance and a 500 crore heist from a poor state is not important to them. Perhaps a peaceful mass protest without rasta rokos, bandhs, etc. does not seem important to them.
But if several MPs like you or the CM write about it they will publish it.
India should know how our esteemed PM talks about regional balance in education in a speech one day and the same day he announces the heist of NIS/IISER from Bhubaneswar (not in so many words of course). See http://in.rediff.com/news/2005/sep/28pm1.htm
The world should know how he does not bother to respond to thousands of letters written to him. Thats how much he cares about people of Orissa and regional balance. (As the largest democracy India and its PM should learn from the US where letters written to elected officials are replied to.)
-- Set up an appointment at the HRD ministry and the planning commission and demand that they tell you how HRD budgets have been spent over the years and what is the state-wise distribution. I am sure Orissa (and Rajasthan, and Chhatisgarh etc.) will be at the bottom as it does not have any centrally funded institution of the likes of a central Univ, IIT, etc. and anytime there is a hope (like the NIS/IISER) it is politically maneuvered (or some would say stolen). Then you must demand that this years of neglect must be corrected immediately by establishing the NIS/IISER/equivalent in Bhubaneswar, by upgrading NIT Rourkela to an IIT and by having a central university in KBK.
Dr. Mungekar of the planning commission has rightly stated that the 7 new IITs should be set up in states where there are no IITs and IIMs. More power to good real patriotic Indians like him, who care for all of India, not just their state. Based on that, NIT Rourkela, among the top non IIT engineering colleges, should be a prime candidate for it. Similar measures should be taken with respect to the other neglected states too.
-- Show that the planning commission (except perhaps Dr. Mungekar), with respect to the NIS/IISER approval, has behaved like a rubber stamp for its chair (the PM) and the central government, and instead of threatening Orissa every now and then for this and that ( as is often reported in newspapers) the planning commission should first revisit its decision regarding NIS/IISERs immediately. It is the planning commission's job to plan for all of India, not to dole out favours to states that are allied with the center, as it has done over the last 50 years with respect to locations of central universities and institutions of national importance (IIT/IIM/IISc/etc.). By their decision regarding NIS/IISER, which takes away NIS/IISER from Orissa ( a state with no ...), they have disgraced themselves in front of Orissa and the whole country.
If they have any self respect left, they should immediately correct this. In addition, I hope they would show their planning ability by taking immediate steps to establish several central universities in the mountainous areas of West Orissa (KBK), AP, Chhatisgarh, Jharkand etc. which are more backward and deprived than the northeast and where good educational institutions (like central universities) will produce teachers, doctors, etc. that are sorely lacking; thus taking them away from Naxalites, violence, deprivation etc. and towards development.
sincerely and with best regards
Professor, Arizona State University
ps -- You may find the details of the NIS/IISER subterfuge at
http://iiser.blogspot.com/ That will be a good place to start.
Some thoughts on KBK central university are at