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Centre seeks 200 acres for IIM Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 21: The Centre has asked the state government to provide 200 acres to set up the proposed Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Odisha.

The missive from Smriti Irani’s Union human resource development ministry has also asked the government to suggest suitable locations equipped with necessary “physical and social” set-up.

“To establish the premier institution, we will require 200 acres at suitable location free of cost and free from all encumbrances. You are requested to kindly suggest two or three suitable locations for this purpose,” said the letter, adding that the suggested locations should have good “road, rail and air connectivity”.

Incidentally in the state, Bhubaneswar has air connectivity, while Jharsuguda is shortly going to have the facility. However, only after the state offers its suggestions, the site selection committee for IIMs would visit these spots and take a decision within three months.

The Centre’s letter is certain to spur the state government into action, more so because the Common Admission Test (CAT-2014) has started inviting registration for the new IIMs. But, people from various regions of the state have begun to stake their claims.

While Berhampur residents have formed “Forum for IIM at Berhampur” to take up the cause, Rourkela residents yesterday submitted a memorandum on the issue to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Naveen Patnaik through the additional district magistrate.

Convener of the Forum for IIM in Berhampur Pramod Sahu, a professor of commerce at Berhampur University, said: “For the past 67 years since the Independence, not a single national-level institute has come to the region though it had contributed immensely to the formation of state and also its education. It is time, the IIM is set up here.” He said Berhampur University could also accommodate the new institute for some time till the new campus was ready.

Gopal Krishna Nayak, director of the International Institute of Information Technology, Bhubaneswar, said: “While demanding an institute such as the IIM, we should look at the practical aspects.” Though he belonged to Ganjam, he felt that there were many reasons why the IIM should be established at a place near Bhubaneswar.

“I was a student of IIM (Bangalore) in the late 90s, but at that time the social situation was different and then professors were willing to shift to smaller cities with their spouses. Times have changed and cities such as Bhubaneswar and Cuttack will be more suitable. Air connectivity is a vital factor,” he said.

Retired professor of English literature Hrudamani Pradhan, a resident of Bargarh, on the other hand, said: “We cannot keep aside Sambalpur’s demand as it has all the facilities such as technical institutes and industries, and there is also a plan to develop Jharsuguda as the second airport of the state.”

Intellectuals and faculty members of various institutions in Rourkela have also stepped up the demand for IIM to be set up there. Local residents have formed the Rourkela Jagaran Manch to press for their demand. NIT Rourkela alumnus R.C. Patnaik said: “Of the 13 IIMs, many are not able to compete with their counterparts due to their locational disadvantages. Apart from connectivity, facilities such as health care are also required.”