Sunday, August 2, 2015

IISER precedes over Second Agriculture University: BJP gives two but BJD fails to keep even one election manifesto promise

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patanik,
Your Government’s sudden announcement for establishing Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Berhampur came as a surprise. Even for an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) local people of Sambalpur had to fight till the last moment to win political support of state Government as well as central Government, whereas people of Berhampur were lucky enough to get an easy walk over. Keeping local demands from various regions for IIM multiple number of locations were proposed by the state Govt. whereas demand for IISER coming from various regions like Kalahandi, no multiple locations was ever proposed or scrutinized. This shows unfair treatment of state Government towards backward region like KBK. 

Although people of Berhampur has every right and may deserve such an institution despite having dozens of state Government higher educational institutions including two state Universities, it is very unfortunate that state Govt. has not come clear while establishing such institution in KBK region. It should be noted that most of the state and central Government institutions in Odisha is located in the four neighboring districts of Bhubaneswar, such as Khordha, Puri, Cuttack and Ganjam. In this case how could state Government rationally talk about inclusive and equitable growth across Odisha in higher education?  Nevertheless, Berhampur is location wise not suitable for overall growth of South Odisha. The central location (center of gravity) of regional division commission of South Odisha comes around Lanjigarh and Berhampur/Ganjam is just another neighboring city/district of Bhubaneswar/Khordha. If neighboring location to state capital are criteria for the Govt. to establish new institution, then why not such establishment in Dhenkanal or Nayagarh? Particularly, Nayagarh has never received such consideration. It also proves the theory correct, which argues - “While establishing major institutions Odisha Government always gives preference to regions, which were part of Odisha movement in 1936, over those Princely states that joined Odisha in 1948 ”.

The proposal for a Second Agriculture University in Odisha is hanging for more than a year; in fact this proposal was older than the recent proposal of both IIM and IISER. The BJP lead central Govt. has already announced two central institutions in Odisha, in the same period Odisha Govt. has failed to announce its own election manifesto.

Unlike Berhampur, which was given IISER in the name of South Odisha, Bhawanipatna is well documented to be the best suitable place for Agriculture University because (a) Kalahandi is the top most agriculture producer, mainly paddy, pulses, cotton etc. district among the KBK districts; (ii) Kalahandi is among the 25th largest rice producer districts in India. It is not limited to rice alone, agriculture products in Kalahandi is very diverse unlike many other districts in the region; (iii) The agriculture growth of the district is not yet saturated and it is predicted that it can be one of the forefront district in the nation in agriculture growth; (iv) Bhawanipatna is located centrally among all KBK districts and suits the interest for all the KBK districts; (v) The proximity of Bhawanipatna to all the existing Regional Research and Transfer Technology Stations and Regional Research and Transfer Technology Sub-Stations of OUAT in KBK and Western Odisha region even demands location of the proposed Agriculture University at Bhawanipatna; (vi) Kalahandi collector had already identified 500 acres of land for possible Agriculture University.

In spite of all these advantages, the announcement of Second Agriculture University in Bhawanipatna has not happened, whereas announcement for IISER in Berhampur came without any critical debate in the state level despite such demand from Kalahandi. This is quite injustice for KBK region and people of KBK. Incidentally, the same state Government has shifted the earlier proposed Wagon factory in Kalahandi in the 2010-11-railway budget to Sitapalli near Berhampur. This further proves political favoritism by the state Government, therefore, I request you to kindly remove this regional and political discrimination towards KBK region while establishing central institution. Urgent correction is required in this matter.

Thank you and best regards

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