Smriti Irani's plan rekindles State's IIT hope

Maintenance, repair, overhauling hub mooted at HAL airport

The recent statement of Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani about starting an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in every state has rekindled the hope of having this long-cherished institution in the State.

At a ceremony organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) to present ‘Export Excellence Awards’, R V Deshpande, Minister for Higher Education, broached the topic with Ananth Kumar, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers.

“The State government welcomes Smriti Irani’s statements and I have written a letter to her, highlighting the fact that Karnataka being the knowledge capital of the country is craving for an IIT. Ananth Kumar should ensure that this matter is taken up in the budget and should get it sanctioned,”said Deshpande. Kumar replied that he will definitely take up the matter with Irani.

“We have a number of institutions of frontier technologies and excellence like Indian Institute of Information Technology, Indian Institute of Science, Defence Research and Development Organisation, National Law School of India University and we also require an IIT. I will pursue the matter with the union government. Together, we will establish the best IIT,” he said.

Kumar announced that his Ministry would work on establishing a National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER) in the State. “This will be a centre of excellence in pharmaceuticals. The Centre is willing to fund this initiative and the State government needs to make land available for it,” Kumar said.

There are at present six NIPERs in the country. He also spoke about setting up a Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region in the State and asked the State government to decide on the location. 

Kumar talked about developing the HAL airport into a maintenance, repair and overhauling (MRO) hub.

“Most of the MRO hubs are in Singapore and USA. If we develop HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) as an MRO hub, it can handle more than 300 aircraft,” said Kumar. Describing Bangalore as the aerospace centre of India with the presence of organisations like NAL (National aerospace Laboratories), HAL, he said there are innumerable facilities to achieve this aim and suggested tying up with the Singapore Air Traffic System for the purpose.

To address grievances and issues related to industries in the State, Kumar suggested the holding of a “tripartite meeting” in the city. This would involve the Union, State governments and industries as well as industrial bodies like FKCCI, he said.

“This meeting can be held under the leadership of the chief minister. Ministries dealing with steel, power, coal, and environment can participate,” said Kumar. A conclave like this can be used to decide on issues related to tariff, infrastructure and regulations to promote investments, Kumar said.

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