Bhawanipatna : 12/September/2014
As the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has given its nod for setting up a National Tribal University in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bastar region to facilitate research and development of tribal culture and dialect, leading NRO Digambar Patra has lauded the move.
Dr.Patra in a letter to Union Minister HRD, Smriti Irani has said that earlier Union Government has established Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU) at Amarkantak and one of its regional campuses has been established in Manipur.
So Dr.Patra has urged the Union Government to set up a National University for Tribals in Kalahandi. He said that Odisha is primarily a tribal dominated state and it is one of the few major states having substantial percentage of tribal.
Odisha has higher percentage of tribal population compared to Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc.
Therefore, based on the letter of former BJP MP Bikram Keshari Deo regarding establishment of Central University of Orissa in Kalahandi instead of Koraput, earlier MHRD had proposed to establish new tribal university campus in Kalahandi during 11th plan.
Information obtained through RTI act that IGNTU at Amarkantak has already received a proposal from MHRD to open a regional campus at Kalahandi.
As per the policy of the University, State Government of Odisha was informed to provide infrastructure facilities like a minimum of 300 acres of land, approach road and electricity supply and accordingly the state Govt. was asked to facilitate with the infrastructure facilities.
Following it, then Additional District Magistrate (ADM) had identified the required 300 acres of land in Benda Jhola and Kumudabahal village in Thuamul-Rampur panchayat samiti of the district and informed the same to the Department of Higher Education (DHE), Odisha.
Since then no action has been taken by MHRD. On the other hand, MHRD has acted immediately on the proposal of Chhattisgarh Government and considering similar proposal for Andhra Pradesh.
It is surprising that MHRD has not acted on the promise it has made to Kalahandi people with regards to establishment of a tribal university despite the fact that KBK region in Odisha is a tribal dominated backward region.
Dr.Patra pointed out that the region is also suffering due to insurgency like Bastar. The site identified by Kalahandi district administration is located at the heart of tribal population in Kandhamal, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Rayagada, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Balangir, Boudh, Bargarh, Sambalpur and Sonepur serving one of the largest tribal concentrations in Odisha as well as in India.
The site is well connected by state highway, which is undergoing a two lanes expansion and having all required infrastructure like water and electricity.
There are many other suitable Government owned sites in Kalahandi district such as one near Kesinga or Junagarh having all required infrastructure for such establishment of a national university.
MHRD has been establishing multiples of new IIT, IIM and AIIMS; however, it has completely sidelined its earlier commitment to establish national universities for tribal population in Kalahandi.
Under this backdrop, Dr.Patra has urged the Union Minister to take necessary step to establish a national university in Kalahandi for tribal immediately.
The Pioneer, Sept 14, 2014