Non-resident Odia Professor Digambara Patra of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, has praised the decision of the State Government to propose Sambalpur as the site for the establishment of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) under the relaxed conditions. He said this would give justice to the people of the backward Sambalpur region who had been demanding to have an elite educational institution of repute.
“There are sufficient numbers of top Government higher educational institutions like IIT, AIIMS, NISER, etc around Bhubaneswar. Now such institutions should go to north-west Odisha, such as Sambalpur-Rourkela and south-west Odisha like the Bhawanipatna-Koraput region. IIM can be located in Sambalpur region; similarly Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Bhawanipatna and Government medical colleges in Balangir, Koraput, Baripada, Baleswar and Puri,” he said in a letter to the Prime Minster.
Patra also sought an airport in Bhawanipatna-Rayagada belt apart from the one Jharsuguda airport. Using Jharsuguda/Sambalpur as the base will develop 150 km radius comprising Sundergarh, Brajaraj Nagar, Bargarh, Sonepur and will reach up to Rourkela, Keonjhar and Angul.
Similarly, focusing Bhawanipatna as base will develop 150 km radius comprising Rayagada, Balangir, Titilagarh, Nuapada, Nabarangpur, Jeypore, Boudh, Phulbani and Paralakhemundi, he said.
Patra demanded direct train connection from Bhubaneswar to Balangir including Boudh, Nayagarh and Sonepur (Khordha-Balangir line), Kalahandi (Talcher-Lanjigarh road line), Koraput (Rayagada-Gopalpur line), Nabarangpur (Junagarh-Jeypore line) and Malkangiri (Jeypore-Malkangiri line), Kendrapada (Paradeep-Haridaspur line) by providing free land and sharing 50 per cent of the cost by the State Government.