Arvind Limbavali, Minister for Higher Education, and Oscar Fernandes, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development, have said that a centre of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) be set up in the State.

Both the leaders made out a case for an IIT in the State at the inauguration of the global alumni convention of the Alumni Association of the National Institute of Technology–Karnataka (NIT-K) at Surathkal on Saturday.

Mr. Limbavali said that the Congress leaders from the State, Mr. Fernandes, S.M. Krishna, M. Veerappa Moily and M. Mallikarjun Kharge, should take the lead for getting an IIT for the State.

The Minister said that the State was supposed to get an IIT recently. But the Union Government sanctioned it to Andhra Pradesh, he alleged.

Mr. Limbavali said that the choice of place where the IIT should be located in the State is not an issue. Wherever it is, the State should get an IIT, he added.

Mr. Limbavali said that the State Government will build an advanced institute of technology at Muddenahalli in Chickballapur. It will be named after late M. Visvesvaraya. The State has purchased 200 acres of land at Muddenahalli for this. It will function under the Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum.

The Minister said that the new institute will offer advance courses in technology from undergraduate level. It will also offer research opportunities. The institute will have tie-ups with reputed technical institutes and organisations in the world.

Mr. Limbavali said 11,000 engineering seats remained vacant in the State this year. He admitted that the government engineering colleges in the State had failed to provide quality education due to infrastructure-related problems. The Minister appealed to private education institutions in the State to increase admission quota for poor students. The education institutions should ensure that higher education is affordable to poor students. He promised to help NIT-K financially to revive its research and development centre.

Mr. Fernandes said that he concurred with Mr. Limbavali that the State should get an IIT. He said that the Union government had planned to open 500 vocational training centres in the country.

The director of NIT-K, Sandeep Sancheti, said that the alumi association can serve as an interface between the institute and the industry. Yajnanarayana Kammaje, president of the association, said that 1,000 members of the association were attending the two-day convention.

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