Friday, July 21, 2006
IIT’s happening at last: satellite campus in offing
Express News Service
Gandhinagar, July 21: GUESS what’s coming to town next July? Ahmedabad’s very own Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). With this, the city, which already houses premier educational institutes IIM and NID, also gets a renowned engineering institute.
The land for the proposed institute will be allocated by September, and construction completed in two years. Till the time a new building complex is constructed, the IIT would function either from LD Engineering College or RC Polytechnic in Ahmedabad.
The initiative for this was taken by Chief Minister Narendra Modi himself last year, as part of his project to develop a knowledge corridor in Gujarat. Talks were held between an IIT delegation led by IIT-Powai Director Ashok Misra and Modi here at Gandhinagar in connection with the project that envisages a satellite campus of the prestigious technology institution, at the Secretariat on Friday.
The three-member team also interacted with Chief Secretary Sudhir Mankad and senior education, science and technology department officials.
Coming out of the meeting, an elated Misra and his deputy, Professor Dipan K Ghosh, said they were hopeful of starting a ‘‘satellite campus’’ of IIT-Powai in Gujarat by next July. “We are excited by the interest shown. The Chief Minister is as keen as us on the project,” the duo said.
Though a satellite campus, IIT-Powai’s Gujarat extension would be a full-fledged institute with an emphasis on courses specific to the development of the State.
“Today marks a turning point for IITs as the Gujarat campus would be much larger to be called an extension. It’s going to be another IIT in size,” informed a team member. The team has already zeroed in on a couple of spots in Ahmedabad, and has sought 300 acres for the project.
“We are looking at courses like textile engineering, marine and ship building, aeronautical engineering among others that can complement Gujarat’s strengths, and at the same time add to IIT’s profile. At some stage in the future — may be five to seven years — I see the Gujarat campus having 4,000-4,500 students, the same that we have at Powai,” said Misra.
Principal Secretary (Education) P Paneervel, who was present during the interaction along with Commissioner (Higher Education) Rajiv Gupta, and Secretary (science and technology) Raj Kumar, informed Indian Express that the Government had put the project on fast track and a decision on land was to be taken by September.
“Things are moving fast and we are hopeful of making a provision for the demanded land in Ahmedabad. As construction would take about two years from September, a temporary campus would start functioning from either LD Engineering campus or RC Polytechnic. We are working on this,” Paneervel said.
As land availability has saturated on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar corridor, the likely spot for the Gujarat-IIT is to be around Bavla, Sanand, or towards Nadiad. The Government is looking for land situated not more than ‘‘30 minutes’’ from Ahmedabad airport. The Gujarat Government would incur the costs of land and other infrastructure, while the Union Ministry of Human Resource and Development would chip in with building funds. Possibility of corporate funding for specific building blocks is also being explored.
* Focus on Gujarat with courses like textile, aeronautical engg, marine, ship building
* 300 acres needed, ‘30 minutes’ from airport
* To function temporarily from LD Engg College or RC Polytechnic
* Aims to house over 4,000 students