SAMBALPUR: The demand for setting up the proposed Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Sambalpur is once again gathering steam.
Apparently, following the closed-door meeting presided over by Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry’s Higher Education Secretary Satyanarayan Mohanty at New Delhi on Tuesday, the Ministry has given 15 days time to the Odisha Government to finalise the temporary and permanent campuses of the institute.
The Ministry wants to start the first session of the new IIM from 2015-16 academic year and it will begin operation from temporary campus and later be shifted to the permanent campus.
Hundreds of locals including college students on Wednesday staged demonstration outside the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (North) office demanding setting up of the country’s elite B-school in Sambalpur. Political leaders, cutting across party lines, joined the protest. They also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the issue through the RDC, Pramod Meherda.
In the memorandum, they stated that Bhubaneswar and its periphery districts besides the coastal districts already have national-level educational institutions. Since Sambalpur is the hub of Western Odisha, the IIM should be set up in the region.
Highlighting the contribution of Sambalpur in the field of art and literature and its strategic location, the memorandum urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the district gets the new IIM. In the memorandum to Naveen, they alleged that Sambalpur has been a victim of regional disparity over the years.
Sources present at the meeting said, Odisha Government had proposed setting up of the new IIM in Sambalpur district and it wanted the temporary campus to be located in the Capital City.
However, higher authorities in the Ministry stated that proposal was not feasible as the distance between the two districts was over 250 km and it would be difficult to oversee construction of the permanent campus at Sambalpur from the temporary campus at Bhubaneswar.
Earlier, the Union Budget had proposed new IIMs in Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar, Maharashtra and Odisha. Accordingly, the Odisha Government had asked collectors of Cuttack, Khurda, Ganjam, Sundargarh, Koraput and Sambalpur to identify land for the proposed IIM.