BJD renews push for IIM in Sambalpur

Sambalpur: After Opposition Congress and BJP, it’s now ruling BJD’s turn to press for setting up IIM-Odisha in Sambalpur, a move which could yield results since the State government has recommended the Union HRD ministry for the location.

To garner support for the demand, the party took out a public rally today from Balibandha in the district under the leadership of Rairakhol MLA and its district president Rohit Pujari and Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi.

Addressing the gathering, Pujari blasted the Centre for delaying its announcement on the location for establishing the premier institution.

“Chief minister Naveen Patnaik replied to HRD ministry’s letter on March 2 recommending Sambalpur as the preferred location to set up IIM under Centre’s relaxed norms. But why it is sitting on the decision when it is declared that Odisha is getting the premier B-school?” asked Pujari.

“We are not going to sit idle unless our demand is met. Today we sent 5,000 post cards to the President requesting him to intervene in the matter,” he stated.

Panigrahi, who was accompanied by Pujari and other party leaders, questioned the inordinate delay on the part of the ministry in taking a final decision on the matter.

“It’s already two months now and the Centre has not yet sent a team for site verification. When the State has recommended Sambalpur as the location , where is the issue then?” asked Panigrahi. The agitation will continue until a declaration comes from Centre in this regard, she asserted.

Extending its support, members of ‘People’s Forum for IIM in Sambalpur’ also joined the rally which witnessed participation from all civil society groups of the city.

Reacting on the development, senior BJP leader Suresh Pujari said, “The ball is still in the State government’s court as it has not withdrawn its recommendation favouring the institute in Bhubaneswar.”

Meanwhile, speculations are doing the rounds that the Centre is most likely to announce Sambalpur as the IIM location as the timing of the BJD rally matches with chief minister Patnaik’s Delhi tour where he is scheduled to meet several Union ministers to press for the State’s demands.