by Swatee Jog
The Union Budget this year made provision for an IIT at Karnataka. The new IIT in Karnataka will be in addition to the ones proposed at Jammu and Kashmir, Chattisgarh, Goa, Andra Pradesh and Kerala which, when operational, will take the strength of IITs to 21. Of these, there is provision to upgrade current institutes of technology or to build a new one. Many politicians have already started pitching for their respective towns to set up the proposed IIT. However, many points come to the mind of a common man. Belagavi long deserves an institute of National prominence. Of the major contenders, many cities in Karnataka have had such institutes- Mangalore has the NIT while Mysore has the National Food Technological Institute and Bangalore is home to more such, including an IIM. Belagavi, situated at the juncture of three states, is known as an educational hub, with 3 universities and numerous other institutes of education from schools to UG , PG, medical, engineering and pharmacy. It is well connected by rail and road to major cities and also has the perfect environment that fosters education. However, some aspects need to be thought about. An IIT would require land of not less than 200 acres for it to be set up afresh. Belagavi can offer this land in select locations. The first would be beyond the Suvarn Vidhan Soudha, near Bastwad and beyond. Another location could be Kanbargi. Land could also be available near Bailhongal which can be a good location. Second point of concern would be the infrastructure. The current roads in Belagavi are at best suited to flaunt a Tier-2 city status. But if we boast of an IIT, it would entail visits by Indian and International faculty, students, researchers, Industry people and even leaders. Belagavi needs good air connectivity to at least Bangalore and Mumbai for easy access. An IIT would also boost the local industry, more so the hotels, food, travel, construction, etc.
Although Belagavi is long considered safe for living, has great climate, is accessible to Mumbai, Bangalore and Mangalore overnight, has extremely warm people, enough water and electricity, has a flourishing Engineering industry, all it lacks is something like an IIT. Perhaps the politicians of yore did not pitch hard or we always lost to the bigger cities in the state or then it could be that we just hang in limbo due to the border dispute, we’ve always lost out. It is time the people of Belagavi get their act together. Let the Industry bodies, educational institutions, people’s forums, political parties, social organizations, come together for this common cause. People power triumphs, time and again. Why not try this one time?