IIM site row: Western Odisha forum makes a case for Sambalpur  

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 31:

The Paschimanchala People’s Forum, a civil society group spearheading the movement for IIM in Odisha’s Sambalpur, met Technical Education Minister Sanjay Dasburma on Saturday and submitted a document supposedly answering the queries posed by the Union HRD ministry to the state government recently.


The members of the forum apprised the minister that Sambalpur satisfies all the criteria laid by the Centre for setting up of the proposed business school in Odisha.

In its letter dated May 25, the HRD Ministry had asked five questions to Odisha: details of infrastructure facilities at Sambalpur, iconic industrial houses operating from the city, the number of industries in the city, details about economic activities in and around the place and employment opportunities for spouses and family members of staff of the proposed IIM.

In its reply, the forum said, the two proposed sites in Sambalpur will soon be connected with six-lane national highways the construction work of which is already underway.

The Hirakud and Chiplima hydel power projects, OPGC and NTPC thermal power units are not far off from these sites so there would be no shortage of power supply.

Sambalpur and Jharsuguda are within 54 KM radius of the proposed site which are major industrial hubs. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), Aditya Birla Aluminum, Vedanta, Bhushan Steel, ACC Cements, L&T, OCL Cements and more than 30 medium and small-scale industries are located in the area, the forum said.

Western Odisha is fast developing in trade and commerce. The per capital income in Jharsuguda, near Sambalpur, is the highest in the state. There are over 100 rice mills, handloom industries, several coal-based and sponge iron units in the Sambalpur-Jharsuguda area. Based on this, many government and private enterprises have come up here in the recent past. Sambalpur is connected with major cities in the country through rail network and several trains ply on this route. Besides, the Jharsuguda airport is scheduled to be functional from August, 2016, it said.

Sambalpur has many premier educational institutions and plenty of scope for a modern lifestyle. The Sambalpur University and other educational institutions can be used for temporary campus of IIM.

The representatives of the forum, including former Sambalpur University vice-chancellor Prof Aditya Prasad Padhi, Prof Shankar Prasad Pati, Bhakta Prasad Nanda, Golak Bihari Mishra and Sapan Mishra, held a meeting with the minister here on Saturday.

Notably, the principal secretary in the Employment and Technical Education and Training Department Asit Kumar Tripathy would attend a meeting in New Delhi on June 5 to clarify the state government’s stand on the IIM issue.

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