Friday, 6 July 2007

Where Should Incoming IIT go in Bihar?
by Dr Rajkishore Prasad

Jan 11, 2007

Now Bihar state will get an IIT in the name of a central institute of higher education and research. The dream came true after many decades. After highlight of regional imbalance in the distribution of reputed institutes of S&T central government is trying to minimize prevailing disparity by opening some new institutes of national reputes in backward and ignored states. Among the ignored state Bihar and Rajasthan is at the top. Opening of an IIT in Bihar will certainly open new avenues and bring more central funds for higher education in the state.

After the announcement by the Central Government to open an IIT in Bihar, there started debate in many Bihari groups on the place of establishment. Where should it be established in Bihar? The question is natural as in Bihar too the disparity in distribution of educational institutes is too much. However, it will be not clear unless state government does not come to decide, so from different groups of people there were emerging many guesses about places like Patna, Hajipur(Vaishali), Darbhanga etc. Of course many might have first choice as Patna. The matter gets more localized when there came news related to location of the IIT in Bihar by the central government. As per letter by MHRD to the state government, the spot selected for setting up the prestigious institute should have approximately 600 acres and be well connected by road, rail and air.

So far as transportation facility is concerned Patna will be better choice but to acquire land of 600 acres will be cumbersome. However, establishment of IIT in Patna will be a worst choice keeping in view developing face of the state. Patna has already many engineering institutes such as National Institute of Technology, an extension center of BIT Mesra Ranchi, and many private engineering colleges. In the near future, a state run university will become a central university and for that race Patna University is on top. There is also a national level institute of law at Patna. In Nalanda there will be an international university. So certainly it will be not a wise decision to open an IIT in or very near to Patna. It should go outside the Patna in the areas like Vaishali (Hajipur, Goraul), Muzaffarpur or Darbhanga. Specially, Goraul has road and train connectivity and government can acquire land around Charvaha Vidayalaya, a useless and irrelevant area situated in front of main road, to build an IIT. It is also not far from airport Patna. Establishing IIT in Patna will again create imbalance distribution of educational institutes in Bihar as is prevailing in the country.

While deciding place, the government should also consider minimizing the wanted land. Instead of expanding the institute horizontally, government should plan to expand it up. There are many other countries which have not so much land resources, such as Japan, and running many institutes like IIT in the lesser area. Fortunately our country is spacious but we should build our institutions keeping in view our populations and required land for agriculture too in future. I am sure some special planning to expand institute vertically will bring handsome reduction in the required land area.

Once the proposed 6-km 'rail-cum-road bridge' connecting the Digha locality of the state capital with Pahleja Ghat under Sonepur sub-division of Saran district, over the Ganga river is over, Pahleja-Sonepur area would certainly be an ideal location for establishing new IIT. This will boost the urbanization process of entire Saran (Chhapra, Siwan and Gopalganj) commissionary. - Dr. Sudhir Ranjan, USA - Jan. 11, 2007

If it makes me win the next elections, I can prove my constituency to be best suited for an IIT. Let us hope such things don’t happen in the way of opening up educational institutes. IIT itself does not bring development to any region. - Kumod Jha - Jan. 11, 2007


I fully agree with Dr. Sudhir Ranjan,

Saran, (covering Chhapra, Siwan and Gopalganj) would be an ideal location for establishing this new institute of importance and it would add fillip to the growth of this reason. To note Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga in East Bihar already have some Engineering colleges. However, Saran does not have any such institute. Also from the point of connectivity Saran is well connected from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai Via train and one the new Ganges bridge near Sonepur-Digha is built transit time from Patna to Saran - would reduce considerably. So any one wanting to come over by flight can come to Patna and each Saran in a very short time conveniently. - Santosh Pandey, Amsterdam - Jan. 11, 2007


It is a great news that opening an IIT in Bihar is on cards. For location we should not fall prey to the thinking in terms of regional imbalance within a state. IITs are not going to be meant for the people of only that area. Admissions are going to be from all over India. However for students from Bihar it may give an option of study closer to home. More important thing is where govt can find enough land with other infrastructure facilities to sustain high level of academic work and give a good environment to students coming from all over India. Road, rail and air connectivity are important, at the same time availability of power, water and clean environment is also required. Place may be Vaishali or even Bodh Gaya where we have an international airport. Japanese are going to make good roads and closer to both Patna and grand chord line. Main thing is to see where an academic institution of repute will have better chances of growth. - Mithilesh Kumar, Delmar, NY, USA - Jan. 11, 2007


As far as I know, place for IIT is decided. This is perhaps far from Bye pass road in Patna, around 600 acre land has been acquired. I heard when I was in meeting with Minister Science & Technology at Patna.

But when I came back to Korea, I saw news about confusion.

I think we should not discuss these issues. In a talk with the Minister, he said that getting Land is now a difficult task in Bihar because of the technical reasons. I was in review meeting with him for the development of IISER proposal submitted by BiharBrains delegation at Patna.

They said they are managing land for IIT and have got 600 acres land. It doesn't matter IIT should be in which part of Bihar - Patna bound areas or North Bihar. But certainly there should be decentralisation of mega institutes. Govt should take care of that.

One major problem is that every institute wants space in Patna-bound areas and in Patna, now space is limited. Technical problems come in between. This is also one of the challenges before the state govt. They are fearing about the episode what has happened in the case of West Bengal govt for giving land to TATA motors.

Politically, Mr. Fatmi, Hon'ble Union (state) minister for HRD, may want IIT to be at Darbhanga to satisfy the people of his constituency. Geographically, this place is also not wrong. We can not say that there is no good link of Patna to Darbhanga or any other cities of Bihar.

Now every part of Bihar is on the path of development. Govt is giving much attention to roads, electricity, and education.

If you visit Bihar, you will see everywhere constructions work has started; all MLAs are camping in their own areas for development. Many thanks to the present Bihar Govt. Let us wait and watch . Give free hand to the govt. In my view, we should not discuss these issues. - Bibhuti Bikramaditya, Daejeon, S. Korea - Jan. 11, 2007


I agree with Dr Sudhir's idea. The govt. needs to count 'flood factor' before a final decision.

Another suburban town which is not affected every year by flood is Maner. This town is very close to the existing airport and railway station. - Naren Singh, India/USA - Jan. 11, 2007


It is a very good news for us. I think IIT should be opened at Bodh Gaya because this place is well-connected by rail, road, and air. - Mahesh Singh Yadav, Jehanabad, Bihar - Jan. 12, 2007


Magadh region has already taken lead on development. So to cater regional imbalance, IIT should be opened in Saran region only as it is most neglected. It will be well connected with Patna after the new bridge on Ganga gets completed.

It should not be opened in Mithilanchal region as it already has some institutes of repute and is demanding for separate state. Once separated, it will sway away all the virtues as Jharkhand did to Bihar earlier. - Tarakeswar Dubey - Jan. 13, 2006


I fully agree with Mr. Bibhuti Bikramaditya. We should not raise the issue of location of propose IIT in Bihar. I think the current government is doing very well and we could help it by giving free hand to take decision. We should not discuss such type of topics which could be a big controversy in future like Singur in West Bengal. So please avoid it. - Manoj Kumar, Kolkata - Jan. 16, 2006


It is a very good news that Bihar is going to get IIT very soon. It is better late than never.

In my opinion we should select one location from amongst Bodh Gaya, Ara, Sasaram, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga in that order. Bodh Gaya and Bhagalpur have airports and connectivity. Ara, Sasaram and Darbhanga have only rail connectivity. However, air connectivity should not be prerequisite because Kharagpur does not have air-connectivity but still has got a very good IIT. - Braj Mohan Mishra, Assam - Jan. 16, 2006


There are several places in Bihar where an IIT could be established. Hajipur and Patna are very close to each other. I would not support for opening of this in Muzaffarpur too. These places already have the engineering colleges from very long time. Mithila region, particularly Darbhanga and Madhubani would be better choice for establishing an IIT or IISER. Mithila region including Begusarai, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Jainagar etc are very backward region in Bihar and establishing such central education center would develop the mind of local people apart from development of the area.

I individually posted a request to Mr Arjun Singh by e mail. I do not know how much effective that e mail would be. I am delighted after reading the proposal by Shree Ram Kripal Yadav to to set up an Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) in Bihar. - Prabaht Kumar Purbey, Senior Research Fellow, Pune - Jan. 20, 2006

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