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Karnataka to recommend Raichur, Dharwad and Mysuru for IIT

Karnataka to recommend Raichur, Dharwad and Mysuru for IIT
Bengaluru: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the state government would recommend three places, namely, Dharwad, Raichur and Mysuru, to the Centre for setting up Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Karnataka.

The chief minister, who was on a tour of north Karnataka told reporters here on Saturday that he was including Raichur in the list of cities for setting up IIT as it was a backward district. He added he would not press for Mysuru as a venue for IIT.

Sources said the chief minister had to include Raichur in the list of cities recommended for setting up IIT under political compulsion. Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge had led a delegation to the chief minister to press for Raichur or Gulbarga, considered backward districts in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region. Not wanting to antagonise senior leader Kharge at a juncture when there is clamour for a dalit chief minister, Siddaramaiah, who decided to play it safe, is said to have decided not to press for his home district but instead bat for Raichur.

Bengaluru, Hasan, Shivamogga and Belagavi have also stated their claim to host IIT but are unlikely to be recommended by the state government.

Several organisations presented memorandum to the chief minister in Dharwad on Sunday demanding the IIT to be set up at Dharwad.

Why Dharwad?
Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry, academicians, politicians, social activists, student organisations and others have been mounting pressure on the Centre to establish the much sought after IIT near Dharwad on the Dharwad-Belagavi road. It was the then Union Human Resources Development Minister S R Bommai who had moved the proposal to the Centre to establish IIT in Dharwad in 1990s.

The demand had first come from Dharwad, a hub of education. Successive governments in the state had been putting pressure on the Union government to establish IIT in Karnataka but there had been no response from the Centre.

After NDA government came to power, BJP leaders from the state led by former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, state BJP president and MP Prahlad Joshi and others met the Union Human Resources Development minister Smriti Irani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged them to fulfill the demand at the earliest. In a memorandum submitted to the HRD minister and Prime Minister, the Karnataka delegation had highlighted the importance of establishing IIT in Dharwad and had managed to elicit a positive response from the duo.

Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad said the finance minister's announcement was a result of pressure from BJP leaders from Karnataka. He said the case of Dharwad as the location for IIT has been made to the HRD minister and Prime Minister. "We have already identified 500 acres of land belonging to KIADB near Mummigatti between Dharwad and Belagavi. More land is available if needed. Since Dharwad is also the growth centre for industries, it will be ideal to set up IIT here. Salubrious climate, connectivity, infrastructure and educational environment are all favourable for establishing the IIT. This will also address the problem of correcting the regional imbalance. Bengaluru already has IIM and IISc and is already overcrowded," Arvind said.

The people in North Karnataka, cutting across age barrier, are using social media, especially Facebook, to mobilise support for IIT in Dharwad region. The pressure is already mounting on elected representatives to fight for the cause. Those demanding for a separate statehood for North Karnataka have also joined hands.

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