Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Bhubaneswar, Nov. 8:
Orissa High Court today stayed the UPA government’s decision to shift the proposed National Institute of Science (NIS) from Bhubaneswar to Calcutta, “We direct a stay on the shifting of the NIS from Bhubaneswar to any other place in the eastern region,” the court said today.
The directive came in response to a public interest litigation filed by Prasanta Kumar Das of the State Public Interest Protection Council. Das had filed the PIL on August 29 alleging that the Left parties had hatched a conspiracy to “snatch” the national institute from Bhubaneswar.
The campaigners argue that the state does not have any reputed autonomous science and technology institutes funded by the Centre and has often been a victim of negligible educational investment by the Centre.
“We are not against IISERs in Calcutta and Pune. We just want the Centre to undo the injustice being done to Orissa by not taking away from it an announced and planned for NIS/IISER,” said Chitta Baral of Arizona State University, who is leading a campaign in support of the institute in Bhubaneswar.
In his letter to the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Baral wrote that the aim of the NIS that Joshi had announced in 2003 was the same as that of the proposed IISERs. “Thus, NIS and IISER, though they differ in their names; as proposed institutions, both refer to the same concept,” he said.
“Perhaps, the other announced locations — Chennai and Allahabad — are not as much concerned… but for Bhubaneswar and Orissa, this is a matter of survival as Orissa does not have a central university or an institute of national importance like the Indian Institute of Technology or the Indian Statistical Institute,” Baral, who has launched a campaign through e-mail, argued.