Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's request on shifting IIT Dharwad to Raichur is denied by the Union ministry of human resource development (MHRD) and stated that the shift in location cannot be considered as any changes on this issue will only delay in setting up of the IIT.
"The decision taken by the joint selection committee to set up an IIT in Dharwad is final," said HRD Ministry
"It is practically impossible for the ministry to change the location now as there is no precedence of such an action having been carried out. Entertaining such requests will open a Pandora's box with other states, who have also been trying to exert political pressure for the same purpose," the ministry added.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah had recently dispatched a letter to the HRD minister Smriti Irani seeking to change the location of the IIT site to Raichur, stating it was always the state's first preference.
Speaking on the issue a senior MHRD official said, "There was no divisive opinion on setting up the IIT in Dharwad. The selection committee, having visited all the three locations, had zeroed in on the site location. There is no precedence by the MHRD of ever changing the location of an IIT within a state."
According to sources, MHRD is already preparing a note to secure the sanction of the Union cabinet for setting up a transit campus at Dharwad. The transit campus, suggested by the MHRD, is at the Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI) located opposite the proposed site for the Dharwad IIT. The Karnataka government, nonetheless, is still hopeful of the Centre reversing its decision and awarding Raichur the IIT.
Facing flak from various quarters, Siddaramaiah in Mysore sought to set the record straight on the IIT imbroglio. He said Raichur was not an afterthought by the government and it had been suggested to the Centre to set up the IIT at Raichur.
"Among the three cities proposed for IIT, Raichur topped the list followed by Mysuru and Dharwad," the CM said.
"Raichur district's backwardness coupled with the long-term agitation to set up an IIT were among the factors that led to his suggestion. The Centre has awarded the IIIT to Dharwad and I thought it is better that we have the premier institution at Raichur. I am not against setting up of the IIT in Dharwad. If the two central institutions are set up in two different cities in north Karnataka, it will help in development," he explained.