More room for education

Bihar awaits IIIT debut after land approval

By Roshan Kumar in Patna
  • Published 15.12.16
The new hostel for undergraduate students of Patna Medical College. Picture by Ashok Sinha

Patna, Dec. 14: Decks have been cleared to set up Bihar's first Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT).

To be run under a public-private partnership (PPP) mode, the IIIT could be started in Bhagalpur in the 2017-18 session.

Sources at the science and technology department said the project was hanging fire since 2010, when the then UPA government at the Centre had announced setting up IIITs in different states. The IIITs either received land from respective state governments or started functioning from temporary campus, with only IIIT-Bihar stuck midway due to unavailability of land.

Science and technology department, director technical, Atul Sinha said: "The IIIT project was stuck midway as the Centre was not giving consent to the project due to unavailability of land, but the state government has identified a plot of land a week back. We have also received a letter from the Centre."

The IIIT will be set up on the campus of Bhagalpur Engineering College (BCE). The campus will be set up on 50 acres of the BCE campus spread across 156 acres. The IIIT-Bihar is likely to launch its first academic session from 2017-18, with 60 seats.

Sources said the project did not take off due to unavailability of land and because no corporate house (government or private) came forward to partner the project. As per a ministry of human resource development directive, the state concerned had to give their consent to provide 100 acres for opening a IIIT. In 2010, when the project was announced for Bihar, the Nitish government had informed the Centre that it had identified around 100 acres under Bahadur ' mauja' (revenue village) in Chandi block of Nalanda district, around 60km from Patna for the proposed IIIT. But the state failed in getting possession of land due to farmers' protest and the project got stuck.

As per the ministry directive, for the IIIT to be opened under the PPP mode, the Centre would have to share 50 per cent of the project cost, the state government 35 per cent and the private party the remaining 15 per cent.

As no private agency turned up, the Bihar government submitted the list of two state owned corporations - Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd. (Beltron) and Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam Ltd. The Centre gave its consent to Beltron which will be the agency under the PPP mode.

The students, naturally, welcomed the decision.

Abhinav Rajan, a Class XII student preparing for the IIT and other engineering examinations, said: "The decision to set up IIIT in Bihar is a good step as a national level educational institution will be opened though admission in the institute will be carried out on the basis of a national level competition."

Super 30 founder Anand Kumar said: "The coming up of the IIIT in Bihar will help the state, as there has been a shortage of nationally acclaimed institutions."

For admissions to the IIIT, one has to take the same written test through which admission to various IITs and NITs take place. The test is conducted every year by the CBSE under the guidance of the Joint Seat Allocation Authority (JoSAA) set up by the ministry of human resources development.