Memorandum against neglecting Koshal region while establishing Higher Educational Institution in Orissa

October 13, 2009 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment

Dr. Manmohan Singh, honourable Prime Minister of India

Smt. Pratibha Patil, honourable President of India
Smt. Sonia Gandhi, honourable UPA chairperson
Mr. L. K. Advani, honourable leader of opposition
Mr. Kapil Sibal, honourable union minister of Human Resource Development
Mr. Naveen Patnaik, honourable Chief Minister of Orissa
Members of Parliemant from Orissa

Dear honourable Prime Minister, Dr. Singh,

We would like to draw your kind attention towards the negligence caused to ‘Western Orissa’ — also known as “Dakhin Koshal” or “Koshal region” — by Orissa state Government in financial, infrastructural, social and higher educational sectors. In fact, many well known leaders who have visited this region such as former prime ministers Rajiv Gandhi, Chandra Sekhar, Narasimha Rao and A B Vajpayee, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, leader of opposition L. K. Advani and congress party general secretary Rahul Gandhi have declared that the problem in Western Orissa or Koshal region crops up due to the continuous negligence of the Orissa Government.

As per recent census, population of costal bordering Orissa (CBO) from Balasore to Ganjam is 1.96 times higher than that of Koshal region, whereas geographical area of CBO is 1.36 times smaller than that of Koshal region. Literacy rate of Koshal region is 4.8 % lower than that of average of Orissa state and 11.5 % lower than that of CBO. This means Koshal region needs two times higher investment in roads and infrastructure and 12 % higher investment in education, which may be around 10 -20 % of the state budget as additional funds. Total budget for the state Government of Orissa in the current financial year 2009-10 was estimated as Rs. 35,000 crore whereas budget allotted to Western Orissa Development Council is 80 crore (0.23%). Unfortunately such budget is always fixed without considering inflation and volume of the state budget. With this propositon of token amount the difference will widen every year and can not be minimized.

More to it, the qualitative assessment based on map gives CBO an advantage over Koshal region in length of state highways per every 1000 km in Orissa. Unlike many other states almost all the proposed central Government sponsored major national institutions or hospitals are being established in CBO and other region, particularly in Bhubaneswar-Cuttack region and none of them was established in Koshal region (see link in Appendix 1). Ever since early sixties, number of higher educational facilities in Koshal region have been practically frozen unlike in the coastal area, and more particularly in Bhubaneswar-Puri-Cuttack region.

While Koshal region has seen rapid industrialization, there is no corresponding and matching human resource growth. Consequently, one of the important objectives, that is, employment opportunities for the people of Koshal region have not been properly fulfilled. While local inhabitants have access to low paying jobs, primarily as mazdoors and clerks; most jobs requiring technical skills have gone to outsiders, especially in the private sector industries. Due to the social inequality Maoism is spreading and gaining ground in the region.

There has been continuous demand in this region to establish fully central Government higher educational institution in the region. However, the way Orissa Government betrayed the interest of Kalahandi to establish a Central University and ignored Sambalpur/Rourkela for an IIT has been most unfortunate incident for the people of Koshal region in the few past years.

For educational development of Koshal region we urge you to stop continuing to neglect and establish the following educational institution in the region.

(1) National University: Bhubaneswar is already having or is proposed to have NISER, IIT, AIIMS etc which are of the same stature of national university, apart from railway medical college and many national level research institutions. Among 14 states selected for National University, Bhubaneswar is the only location where the state Govt. is proposing IIT, NISER (similar to IISER/IISc) and National University are coming in one place which is blatant violation in words and spirit of Directive Principle of State Policy of Constitution of India. So keeping the Constitution of India and steps of other states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, Rajasthan, UP etc in view National University proposed in Orissa by MHRD should also go to a city other than state capital. In fact as per Yash Pal committee, all the proposed IIT should be like National University, so there is no point keeping two national universities in one location, rather the National University should be established in Western Orissa or Koshal region. Kalahandi has lost the opportunity to get a central University earlier. Local people, students, youths, intelligentsia, KSNM and KSVP have been demanding a central /national University in Kalahandi since 1988 and the Chief Minister of Orissa did an injustice to all such effort by not keeping his promise to establish Central University at Kalahandi at last moment, people are more displeased and frustrated over this development and are continuing their struggle. This should be compensated by the State Government by proposing Central Govt. to establish the National University in Kalahandi or Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region where a second airport is being proposed. Let the site selection committee of Central Government take a call on whether to choose Kalahandi or Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region for establishing such institute. Let there be no political gimmick like last time when the State Govt. proposed three sites near Bhubaneswar for establishing IIT completely forgetting his promise to establish IIT at Burla-Sambalpur region on the eve of election. Let there be no violation of Indian Constitution and let the Govt. take steps keeping common peoples requirement and demand in mind.

(2) IIM: Both Sambalpur and Berhampur were considered as regional centers along with Bhubaneswar/Cuttack region. There are already many national institutions coming around Bhubaneswar-Cuttack region, whereas there was a single proposal for IIIT in Berhampur and Sambalpur-Burla has not got any national institution so far and has only suffered from blind industrialization, unsustainable mining and environmental degradation. From social, infrastructural and industrial point of view, being industrial hub Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda (BSJ) region would serve as a second knowledge center in Orissa. It has all the required infrastructure. So we urge you to establish a new IIM in BSJ region, convert VSS medical college to AIIMS-type institution and VSS University of Technology to IIEST and National Institute of Design in this region.

(3) Medical College: In the entire Koshal region there is only one medical college in Burla, which is about to be downgraded due to the lack of adequate number of professors as well as other requirements. Recently Orissa government has taken away entire neurology department from this college to be instituted in one of the medical colleges in coastal area in the state. Intervention from the center is required in this matter. Secondary and tertiary medical facilitates in the Koshal region is worst affected since decades which is well documented from the recent death from diarrhea in Kalahandi district. Unlike costal Orissa the distance between medical college at Burla and interior Koshal such as Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sundegarh, Boudh, Padampur etc is very large and patients need to travel long distance before getting adequate treatment. Therefore, Orissa state Govt. and Central Govt. should make sure to establish either state or central Govt. run medical colleges in Kalahandi, Balangir and Sundergarh. Most suitable location of ESIC medical college is Rourkela, the third most populous city in Orissa, because fifty percent of the insured come from the region. Hopefully, ESIC medical college is established at Rourkela of Sundergarh district and initiative should be taken for fully Govt. medical colleges in Kalahandi and Balangir either through Central University of Orissa or state Government.

(4) Vedanta University: Industrial houses like Vedanta is depleting mineral resources in Koshal region and establishing processing plants, but they are encouraged by the state government to establish higher educational facilities in Puri. It’s not at all fair, especially because people in Puri region can access to all kinds of higher education due to higher concentration educational resources at a stone’s throw. Vedanta is mining and destroying the environment in Lanjigarh. Large numbers of poor and tribal people are affected by the Vedanta industrialization in Kalahandi and Jharsuguda. There is also opposition to the proposed Vedanta University in Puri, therefore, for the benefits of a backward place Vedanta University should be established in Kalahandi and it should open another branch in Jharsuguda.

(5) General University: Recently state and central Govt. have established many Universities in the state; however, unfortunately Koshal region is totally neglected. New general state Universities are urgently required in Kalahandi, Balangir and Sundergarh. Demand for Universities in Kalahandi and Balangir is long standing. There are opportunities which the state Government is not utilizing due to its negligence towards the Koshal region such as, Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) in Lanjigarh could provide financial support to the state Govt. to establish Vedanta Kalahandi University (a state Govt. institution) through local development program in Kalahandi district. Orissa state Govt. should take such initiative in this regard. Similarly, central Government should come up with a road map to make Central University of Orissa at Koraput to be KBK centric by establishing two more branches of it in Kalahandi and Balangir.

(6) Polytechnic College: Barring University College of Engineering at Burla (now declared to be a university after a long struggle, but not adequately funded) and NIT in Rourkela, Koshal region does not have any significant number of trade schools and polytechnics which can provide appropriate skills to fill the skilled jobs. Ordinary and regular colleges do not provide occupation-based relevant skills. So in addition to University and medical colleges, Koshal region needs lots of polytechnics and institutions like North American style Community Colleges. Due to recent industrial growth in the region, state or central Govt. polytechnic colleges should be established in Boudh, Nuapada, Sonepur, Bargarh, Deogarh and Athamallik and each block of Koshal region should have an ITI.

(7) IT Park: State Govt. has already established IT parks in Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Berhampur and planning to establish another one in Balasore. Sambalpur is fourth largest city and BSJ region has greater potential to evolve as second knowledge center in the state. Nothing has been done in this regard; it is high time such IT park is also established in BSJ region.

(8) Steel Institute: Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh region is known for steel production in Orissa but Biju Pattanaik National Steel Institute (BPNSI) was established in Puri due to step motherly treatment towards the region. A steel institute as par with BPNSI should be established in Rourkela or Sundergarh district

(9) Textile Park & Agriculture University: Agriculture is backbone for KBK region and Kalahandi is centrally located among KBK districts. Therfore, an Agriculture and Animal Husbandry University should be estblished in Kalahandi. Similarly, for cotton production Kalahandi tops in Orissa along with Balangir and Rayagada districts. However, instead of establishing textile park in Kalahandi, Orissa Govt. is encouraging textile park in Berhampur. Government should immediately establish a textile and cotton processing park in Kalahandi so that local economy of backward Kalahandi, Balangir, Rayagada etc region gets benefited.

(10) KBK politics: State Government always make large noise towards development of KBK region but any central Government proposal or issue like KBK head quarter comes at the state Government level both Kalahandi and Balangir are always sidelined while locating such establishment.

We hope you along with the state Government will take urgent and necessary steps accordingly for the above cited issues.

Thank you and best regards

Members of Koshal Discussion and Development Forum (KDDF) & well wishers

[Note: KDDF is forum of global people interested in development of Koshal region of Orissa, in other words Western Orissa. Historical significance of Koshal is much broader than the term associated with separate state movement. KDDF is a non-political and non-separatist organization interested in bringing development to Western Orissa and simultaneously popularize significance of Koshal among general mass in similar spirit like for Utkala or Kalinga is done and it does not associate with separate state movement rather encourage people to be proud for their Koshal historical route.]

Appendix 1

Click to access Central-funded-Institutions-for-higher-studies-and-research1.pdf

Click to access State-funded-Institutions-for-higher-learning1.pdf

Click to access Private-Universities-Institutions1.pdf

Signature collected through online petition from KDDF members & well wishers:

Entry filed under: KDDF Initiative. Tags: .

Questions about Vedanta University NRO demands higher educational development in Westernodisha

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