Thursday, December 01, 2005
Open Letter to the Prime minister, 2nd response when iron is hot
Sent : Thursday, December 1, 2005 4:30 PM
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Subject : Open Letter
The Prime Minister of India Dr Manmohan Singh
Copy to honorable President of India,
Copy to honorable UPA chair person Ms Sonia Gandhi
Copy to honorable Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission
Copy to the honorbale CM of Orissa
Copy to the honorable MPs from Orissa
Copy to the media
Dear Honorable Prime Minister of India
Your kind attention is drawn that institutes to be named as “National Institute of Science” were earlier proposed at Allahabad, Bhubaneswar, Pune and Chennai by UGC and for the proposal the honorable Chief Minister of Orissa had promised and allotted land in Bhubaneswar to make such an institute at Bhubaneswar by UGC.
However, it was realized that the present central government has renamed or abolished those institutes and proposed new institutes as “Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research” and relocated one of them from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata. An announcement on 28th September 2005, New Delhi (Reference: http://pmindia.nic.in/speech/content.asp?id=203) has also been made that “the Government is creating two institutes dealing exclusively with science education and research, one in Pune and another in Kolkata”. Regarding national level educational institution in the state, Orissa is one of the unfortunate states in the country where neither any of Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Indian School of Mines (ISM), Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) nor any Central University is located although Orissa is always scrutinized for poverty, malnutrition, backwardness and poor infrastructure despite its rich mineral resources and cultural heritage.
The institutes located in Orissa are National Institute of Technology (formerly REC) and Regional Research Laboratory both of which are regional institutes under Government of India and located in most of the states in the country. The credit for establishing Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar goes more to the state government since the institute was initially established by the state government and was later converted as a regional laboratory under DAE, Government of India. In the year 2003 the then Prime Minister of India laid foundation for a first regional branch of AIIMS in Bhubaneswar in a mission for making six more regional branches of AIIMS in the six most backward states of India to boost their respective poor health services in those states. Thus, the proposed AIIMS regional branch at Bhubaneswar is likely because of Orissa’s present poor health services for its people, which is evident from the large number of Orissa patients visiting AIIMS, New Delhi. Many of the poor Orissa patients even find it very difficult to travel a long distance to Delhi for their medical care due to acute poverty. Keeping this in mind such a regional branch is proposed in Bhubaneswar. Incidentally, coalition political gamble present in the country now might not be making the project to move forward.
It is to be realized that when the state was never given a chance to develop equally its infrastructure in education, science and research, compared to other states by our central leadership, how the state could be able to come out from the existing social problems like poverty and backwardness? For example, Orissa has on an average only 14 km of railway track in every 1000 km much below of national average of 19 km, where as few states have on an average of 42 km railway track in every 1000km.
When communication is a serious problem how could the existing poverty and backwardness be fought with from out side world? Surprisingly being in the main page news since last 30 years the district head-quarter of highly (in)famous region Kalahandi in India for poverty and malnutrition does not have any railway link with the state capital Bhubaneswar. This is too when the state railway transports large sum of nation’s ores and minerals and East Coast Railway is one of the highest revenue earner for Indian railway.
While announcing the two institutes dealing exclusively with science, education and research, the prime minister had also released the ‘India Science Report’ prepared by Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and quoted some of the analysis pointed out in the report. One of the quotes was that “a grave regional imbalance in terms of educational institutions in different states” (Ref: http://pmindia.nic.in/speech/content.asp?id=203). This is a serious concern for every citizen of our country that despite a serious allegation by a report carried out by India’s one of the top most respective scientific organization such as INSA, the government has not considered the report seriously to act on for the proposed institutes. As such we do not have any apathy for our beloved states, Maharastra and West Bengal, as well as towards every fellow citizen living in those states. In fact, people from those states have often made us proud in their achievements in science, technology, research and many other activities as well as towards our national integration.
However, when we look at the distribution of top most national institutes in our nation, both the states have equally many number of nation’s top most institutions including IIT, IIM, Central University, AFMC, ISI and top national laboratories like IACS, TIFR, Bose Institute, NCL, INCB, BARC etc.. Despite the presence of nation’s top most research and educational institutes in those states, those states were again given importance and other backward states which urgently need such institutions for education and research were totally ignored by widening regional differences and generating insecurity feeling among the fellow citizens living in these backward regions. If it could be argued that being metro cities has the advantage, then it has to be noted that all the metro cities in India are among the most polluted, densely populated, heavy traffic and accident prone cities in the world. Therefore, keeping the growth rate, population, pollution and current economy in mind it is the right time to divert some of the new government and public sector proposals to expand secondary cities for sustaining the future growth of India. Bhubaneswar has a great potential to grow in science, technology and education which is evident from the success of many state run institutes those got later national recognition. If any decision maker thinks that direct flight connection between Bangalore and Bhubaneswar is a hurdle for his/her decision making and prefers such an institution to make in Kolkata, then it is totally wrong and against the national interest. In fact, the demand of direct flight between Bhubanswar and Bangalore is pending with the central government files. Instead of as limitations poverty and backwardness of the region are indeed making Bhubaneswar advantageous because education would only help to eradicate poverty and backwardness permanently. A higher learning center definitely boosts the moral of local people towards education, science and technology.
In a diversified society like India where people of various languages, cultures, ethics, and religions live together, the central government has greater role to play in bringing harmony and integrity among fellow citizens as well as in developing equal infrastructure and opportunity in every region of this country. Many world class institutes including Stanford University were initially located in small places having poor infrastructure and opportunity and later on these institutes have made those regions industrially advanced and rich. In a coalition government & politics, national interest could be easily buried by creating regional imbalance; however, this could put the nation in a great danger.
So, the central government and our able leaders have to do much above their coalition politics to help out those backward regions by keeping national integrity among fellow citizens and peace in the society. The rumor among Orissa people is that in independent India the first political apathy towards Orissa state in higher learning, education and technology was made by relocating India’s first Indian Institute of Technology from the then proposed site at Bhubaneswar to Kharagpur without keeping any evidence. People of Orissa have not forgotten that political ill treatment from the central leadership till today in the next generation.
In addition, many of the remote and backward regions in the country have at least a central university whereas the most remote and backward region in the country, Kalahandi, which is surrounded by other equally backward regions of the country like Balangir, Koraput and Phulbani all located in Orissa does not have any university. In fact not even a single higher learning center is present in whole Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput (KBK region) and Phulbani region of Orissa. Keeping all these in account, I pray and hope appropriate action towards relocating the proposed Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata would be taken.
Thank you very much and with best regards
R.N 702 Waseda Step 21
Totsuka-chou 1-103 Shinjuku-ku,
Tokyo 169-0071, Japan