Agitation in Raichur for not being picked as the location for Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) shows no sign of abating. However, the report of the expert committee that studied three places in Karnataka for locating the IIT shows that Raichur was not even in the reckoning to locate the premier institution.
Interestingly, while the agitators have been arguing that backwardness of Raichur is the reason why IIT should be located here, the report of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry’s (MHRD) site selection committee clearly shows that backwardness was precisely the reason why it was denied.
the site selection committee, headed by R. Subrahmanyam, Additional Secretary, MHRD, set seven criteria for evaluating: knowledge connectivity, industry connectivity, information technology connectivity, physical connectivity, infrastructure connectivity, suitable land for permanent campus, and suitability of temporary campus. These criteria obliviously put Mysuru and Dharwad at an advantage, leaving Raichur far behind.
As for Raichur, the committee was impressed by “strong agriculture economy served by rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra”, and “well constructed” and “very suitable” administrative block with 1 lakh sq. ft area for temporary campus. However, it was disappointed by the region’s “educational backwardness” and the “absence of airport”. The committee also rejected the land shown for permanent campus by stating that “[it] is in the shape of a cross with inadequate measurements … This site is clearly unsuitable for construction of IIT”.
The committee felt that Dharwad met all the requirements. It was also impressed by the “rich musical and literary traditions” of the area that had been a “centre for Indian classical music” and gave “four Jnanpith award winners”. The report read, “The committee strongly felt that considering the rich academic and cultural traditions, the existing infrastructure … strength of industry and the site offered for the permanent campus, the IIT Karnataka should be located at Dharwad.”
Interestingly, the report concludes with a note that “in the event of IIT Karnataka is located in Dharwad, the IIIT started in Dharwad may be shifted to Raichur after due consultation with the State government.”