Thursday, December 28, 2006
[ 29 Dec, 2006 0150hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
NEW DELHI: IIT-Mumbai's plan to start a satellite campus in Gujarat, which could have gradually become a full-fledged IIT, IIT-Mumbai's plan to start a satellite campus in Gujarat, which could have gradually become a full-fledged IIT, may not take place early.. Reason: Centre's approval was not taken.
But the political subtext, according to sources, is that a Congress-ruled centre would not offer an IIT to BJP-ruled Gujarat under Narendra Modi.
The fact that Gujarat also goes to election by the end of next year would mean that Centre would not like the state government to showcase IIT as an achievement.
Armed with a go-ahead from its board, IIT-M had approached Gujarat government which immediately agreed to give free land near Gandhinagar. The state government had even demarcated the land.
But the Centre's approval was still needed for funds to build the campus. The finance ministry had also said that new campus amounted to setting up a new project which would require necessary clearance from the Centre.
When the technical lapse was brought to IIT-M's notice, it sent a fresh proposal to HRD ministry for a satellite campus in Gujarat.
But with HRD already having proposed two more IITs in the 11th Plan, it needs to be seen if the approval comes for Gujarat or elsewhere. Sources say political considerations could play a major role.
During the winter session of Parliament, a number of Gujarat MPs had asked a question about the IIT campus in Gujarat. HRD ministry's reply has been that there is no such plan.
Refusing to get drawn into a political fight that might ensue, a senior IIT-M functionary said, "We are hopeful of getting the Centre's nod." He said IIT-M is not the only one which has applied for a satellite campus. IIT-Chennai proposes to set up a satellite campus in Kerala and IIT-Kharagpur in Orissa. "If one gets approved, others would also would," he said.