Naveen demands IIT for Orissa, dashes a letter to PM

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 13 (UNI) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today regretted that denial of an IIT to Orissa was a sheer political discrimination, particularly when West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh were again allotted one more IIT during the year.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister said Orissa was deprived of IIT during the financial year of 2008-2009, adding there was remote chance of an IIT being established in the state during the 11th Five year Plan.

Mr Patnaik regretted that despite having higher educational institutions, states like West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh were awarded an IIT, while Orissa case was ignored.

This was nothing but a clear indication of political discrimination, he remarked.

The Chief Minister said he had several times submitted memorandum to the Prime Minister and the Human Resource Minister for setting up of IIT in the state.

For historical reason, even after 60 years of Independence, neither had a Central university nor a higher educational institution been established in the state, Mr Patnaik said.

He urged the Prime Minister to sanction one IIT for Orissa on a priority basis if he really wanted equal development of all regions of the country.

The Orissa Chief Minister further said in Orissa only 6.1 per cent of students got the chance for higher education study as against 15 per cent target, set by the Centre during the 11th Plan period.

He said Orissa required an IIT for development of human resources following rapid industrialisation during the past four years and urged the Prime Minister to take urgent decision in setting up IIT in the state.

The demand for IIT in the state also rocked the ongoing budget session of the Assembly with the members from the Treasury bench raising the issue during zero hour to corner the Opposition Congress.

The ruling party members also staged a protest dharna before the Mahamta Gandhi statue on the Assembly premises to lodge their strong protest with the Centre for neglecting the state in the higher education field by denying a IIT, a long- standing demand of the state.

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