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Naveen knocks on IIT door

Calcutta, Dec. 3: The Orissa government has formally approached the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur to set up institutes of higher learning in biotechnology, bioengineering and defence studies in the state.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today handed over his government’s request to the director of the institute. He was in Kharagpur to inaugurate the Indian Social Science Congress and address the delegates on its theme — Challenges to Democracy in India, from Critique to Construction.

Social activist Medha Patkar was also present at the inaugural session of the five-day meet in the country’s oldest IIT.

“During his meeting with us, the chief minister expressed his eagerness to involve IIT in setting up some centres of excellence in Orissa. We have the required expertise in all these areas and have in principle agreed to his proposal,” said S.K. Dubey, director, IIT Kharagpur.

Not just setting up new institutes. IIT will also help the one-year-old Biju Patnaik Institute of Technology to draw up its curriculum and lay down a credit-based semester system.

“By January, an MoU will be signed between us and the Orissa government to define the scope of IIT Kharagpur’s involvement in the state,” said Dubey. The MoU is expected to cover a wide range of activities, from helping in disaster management in the coastal state to developing a modern education system.

Patnaik also inaugurated an information kiosk — developed internally by IIT Kharagpur — containing critical information on the health sector.

“The system has multiple utilities and it can keep track of availability of doctors, medicines and blood in hospitals and health centres. We are helping the West Bengal government set up such kiosks in various parts of the state. The Orissa chief minister also wants to adopt this system for his state,” Dubey added.

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