Tuesday, December 07, 2010

MHRD to send notice over slow progress in setting up IITs, IIM

The government's effort to boost higher education through new Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) has been snarled up in problems over the allocation of land for their campuses. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has expressed dissatisfaction over the progress made by four new IITs and one new IIM and decided on Monday to write to the authorities in five states where they are located, detailing the problems and seeking solutions.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal said he is not happy that "land allocation" is yet to be completed even two years after the institutes started functioning from temporary buildings. Most of the problems the institutes face relate to securing clearances related to land. The states have to give land free of cost, with agriculture and forest ministry clearances, so that the central government can start construction of permanent campuses.

Each of the new IITs are slated to receive around Rs. 500 crore (Rs. 5 billion), of which more than 50% is to be utilized during the 11th Plan that ends in 2012. The new IITs are supposed to have their full-fledged campuses by 2014.

Sibal met on Monday with IIT authorities and state officials from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, where the IITs are located. No one from Jharkhand, where IIM-Ranchi is facing similar problems, attended the meeting. Sibal said his ministry will send letters to all the state governments, seeking speedy solutions.

IIT-Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is yet to receive a forest clearance for 370 acres of land. IIT-Indore in Madhya Pradesh, too, needs to get environmental and forest clearances. The HRD ministry said in a document that the Jodhpur Development Authority (JDA) must issue an authenticated site plan clearly indicating the exact area of the land available. In the case of IIT-Gandhi Nagar (Gujarat), a large portion of the area earmarked for the campus is agricultural land that needs to be cleared.

The MHRD said the land needs to be leased for at least 99 years as against the 30 years mentioned by the state government. "We can take over the land only after the ministry of agriculture vacates the land," the minister said. "Allotment of IITs and IIMs to states is a matter of respect for them but if they don't cooperate, then how will the central government help better the education in those states? We expect states to solve the problems as a priority so that construction begins in time," Sibal said. Dissatisfied over the absence of officials from Jharkhand, the minister asked MHRD officials to summon the state authorities in charge of IIM-Ranchi.

The Central government decided to open seven new IIMs in the 11th Plan, of which three started operations from make-shift campuses in 2010. IIM-Ranchi is one of them. A senior Jharkhand government official said although land has been selected for IIM-Ranchi, the state government has been facing resistance from some tribal groups. "We understand the importance of land allocation but there are some political and social issues involved in this case," said the official, who did not wish to be identified.

Source: Mint, December 7, 2010
MHRD to send notice over slow progress in setting up IITs, IIMSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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