Vedanta University: Lanjigarh versus Puri

May 4, 2010 at 11:19 pm 2 comments

Following letter was sent to westernodisha@googlegroups.com:

Dear All,

When an incredible and elegant solution stares you in your face, you have to be completely dysfunctional and utterly intellectually challenged not to take it. Yet this is the current situation about location of Vedanta University. Locating the university in the vicinity of Lanjigarh solves several problems at one stroke, yet sixty milers want to locate it near Puri. Incredible.

It will be good,very good, for the entire KBK region,particularly for the large number of Adivashis will sacrifice not only their home and hearth, but their way of life. They being largely illiterate and possessing no marketable skills, they will be disoriented and will have insurmountable difficulties to carve out a new life with the  few rupees they will get in exchange for their habitat. With an institution of the size proposed, there will be good job opportunities. Hopefully the institution will spawn a variety of ancillary industries, and other institutions which can  give them good chance of a good alternate livelihood.

KBK has been a sink hole where various large scale attempts that have been made to rehabilitate into a healthy society have just been failures and the vast amount of money simply disappears. Vedant University will be strong and reliable anchor  in the community which will automatically attract various infrastructures which the entire region so desperately needs. A critical mass of literate and sophisticated population will develop because of adjacent Central University in Koraput, and thus a new nucleus of educational excellence will be generated. And some day, the kids of those displaced Adivashis may be managers of Vedanta and other institutions. And civil servants who find all kinds of excuses not to be located,they  will eagerly compete to be there.

Vedanta will benefit tremendously because its image of a ruthless destroyer of habitat of disadvantaged populace and mindless destroyer of environment; that image will change into a benevolent philanthropist and builder of healthy society. Mind you, it still has to be a good caretaker of the environment and has to actively engage to protect the sensitive ecology of the region. My feeling is that the local populace will actively cooperate with Vedanta to see that Vedanta becomes a successful profitable venture at the same time jointly engage in protecting the ecology.

The unnecessary confrontation between Vedanta on one side and environmentalists and displaced Adivashis can be avoided. Vedanta will emerge as a hero, and can serve as a role model for other mining enterprises. At the same time it will avoid confrontation with Puri-ites regarding land accumulation for building the university. 

It will also be great for Orissa government. Many from Koshala or Western Orissa including me are very critical of Orissa government for over concentrating practically most human resource development activities in the vicinity of Bhubaneswar leaving rest of Orissa largely untouched. Location of Vedanta University in Kalahandi will be first good step to address the inequity, and hopefully this will be followed by similar gestures throughout Orissa away from the sixty mile strip. Location of Vedanta University will cost the government nothing. Cash strapped Orissa government has not been able to manage adequately the institutions of higher learning. Now it can focus in strengthening the existing ones. And the long neglected huge population of Adivashis,who are literally dying because the government has put their horrendous problems under the carpet, will have some ray of hope of good future.

Some argue that the decision of location of Vedanta university in Puri was the decision of Vedanta not Orissa government. But is the Orissa government is so weak that major educational development is surrendered to a industrial house ? With such a majority in the Orissa assembly, one would think that the government is full control of what happens in the state.

Therefore only conclusion one can derive from such decision is that Navin’s government is simply a regionalistic one dominated by self-centered   “academics” and “intelligentsia” with no vision of overall development of Orissa; and this really the way they want. These self centered folks are not interested in reduction of inter-regional disparity, or are interested in rational solutions of the problems. They are simply engaged in rationalisation of the decisions which irrational in essence.

So do you think that wisdom will prevail, and Vedanta University will be located in Kalahandi after all  ? Do not hold your breath. The change of status of dysfunctional to functional is not in the cards.

Regards

Professor Arjun Purohit,Kingston, Ontario, Canada

E-mail:apurohit1934@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Bhawanipatna-Dharmagarh, Higher Education Zone, Kalahandi, KDDF Initiative, Letter to the Koshal Discussion and Development Forum (KDDF), Nuapada, Nuapada, Region watch, State Watch-Monitoring the Odisha State, Universities, Upcoming Universities, Upcoming University, Vedanta, Vedanta Kalahandi University, Vedanta University, Vedanta University: Lanjigarh vs. Puri.

Bargarh District Administration, people of Sambalpur town, and Koshal Mahasabha come out to help Sambalpuri dancing star’ “Gurubari Mirdha” Balangir MP demand 8-year Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput (KBK) plan’s early approval

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Prasanna Mishra  |  May 5, 2010 at 9:56 am

    An interesting and persuasive piece of writing. From the point of view of equity and balanced development of the state, Lanjigarh or any other suitable place nearby, would be desirable for the project.

    Reply
  • 2. Sanjib Karmee  |  May 5, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Very true!!! But many in the states can not see the inter-regional disparity. The so called intelligentsia of Orissa and Non residents of Orissa are busy in developing Cuttack-Puri-BBSR area. I am surprised that the Higher Education Task Force also did not pay any attention towards allocation of good numbers of educational institutes in western Orissa. Western Orissa is poor despite rich in mineral resources. Shame on the govt. and propagators of such regional disparity.

    Reply

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