Bhubaneswar, Dec 01: In an apparent bid to pacify the ongoing agitation demanding establishment of an IIM in western Odisha, the state government has announced setting up an open university at Sambalpur.
An announcement in this regard was made by Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahi in the assembly. "The proposed open university at Sambalpur will be first of its kind in the state. Therefore, its impact and jurisdiction will be vast," Panigrahi said.
Panigrahi said, "The state government has already made provision of Rs 35 crore for establishment and infrastructure of the proposed open university." [Odisha urges Centre to upgrade BPNSI to university]
Besides contributing to progress of higher education, the open university would facilitate distance education, continuous training and research for students and teachers. The open university would also help a large number of students, drop-outs and provide need-based quality education in the backward and tribal-dominated districts of the state, Panigrahi said.
He said the varsity at Sambalpur also reflected the state government's steps to eradicate regional imbalance in Odisha. The people of western Odisha, particularly the residents of Sambalpur have been agitating since a long time demanding establishment of the proposed IIM for the state in their region. [Odisha to open coaching centres for competitive exams]
However, the state government decided to locate the proposed IIM in Bhubaneswar, that led to the intensification of agitation in Sambalpur.