Monday, January 02, 2006


Excerpt from the Rajya Sabha proceedings on December 20th

II. Setting up of a National Institute of Science in Bhubaneshwar
SHRI B.J. PANDA: I am raising a grave matter which is agitating the people of Orissa. It relates to the National Institute of Science. In 2003, the then Government announced the establishment of four National Institutes of Science at Chennai, Pune, Allahabad and Bhubaneshwar along the lines of the Indian Institute of Science which exists in Bangalore. The explicit purpose of this was to bring about regional equity in providing high quality scientific and technical education to the people of India, particularly in Bhubaneshwar. In the meantime, we have been shocked to note a newspaper report in ‘The Statesman’ two months ago, in October, saying that two similar institutes are going to come up in Pune and Kolkata. There is no further news about what is happening to the NIS which are supposed to be set up in the four places, i.e. Pune, Bhubaneshwar, Chennai and Allahabad. What is really agitating us is that there are newspaper reports that the Government has made statements that there was no such plan and there was no such commitment to set up an NIS in Bhubaneshwar.

There are reports that the Government has filed an affidavit in a PIL somewhere, perhaps, in the Orissa High Court that there was no such commitment to set up the NIS which is patently false because of the evidence we have got. We have no problem, if something is to be set up in Pune or if something new is to be set up in Kolkata. But what was already announced should not be taken away from Orissa. It must be set up in Orissa. I understand that the hon. Minister has, perhaps, given an assurance to the other House that the Government will respond to it. My request is, a similar assurance be given to this House also that this commitment shall be kept.

THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF PERSONNEL, PUBLIC GRIEVANCES AND PENSIONS AND THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF PARLIAMENTARY AFFAIRS (SHRI SURESH PACHOURI): This is a very sentimental issue. As per the information made available to me by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, on its meeting held on 9th April, 2003 the University Grants Commission had taken a decision regarding establishment of four Science Institutes at Bhubaneshwar, Allahabad, Chennai and Pune. This decision was taken under Section 12 of the University Grants Commission Act. Thereafter, on 28th October, 2003, the NDA Government, after consultation with the Ministry of Law and Justice in this regard stated that the University Grants Commission is not empowered to open such Centres as per the decision taken under the said Section 12 and, therefore, that cannot materialise. I do not know whether it is true or not but as per the documents provided to me by the Ministry of Law and Justice, this was well beyond their jurisdiction.
A meeting of the Scientific Advisory Council was held on March 4, 2005 which decided to establish two new institutes. Therefore, firstly, it should be ensured that whether during the NDA Government’s tenure, such a decision was not taken by the University Grants Commission but it was taken by the Government itself and if that decision was taken by the then Government, the Government will never hesitate to express its positive response over it. So far as the decision taken regarding Pune and Kolkata, I think that the Government is still committed to that. However, I would convey the sentiments of the hon. Members to the Ministry concerned.

(Shrimati Sushma Swaraj, Shri Sitaram Yechuri and Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi associated.)
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