Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI: Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has urged the Centre to set up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in the State under public-private partnership mode to give a major thrust to higher education.

Mr. Dhumal made this demand during a meeting with Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal here in the Capital. He told Mr. Sibal that the State is ready to contribute Rs.15 crore and allocate 100 acres of land for setting up the IIT. Keeping in mind the fact that the State has a large number of food processing and pharmaceutical units with a huge potential for travel and tourism, it was imperative that an institute of the scale of IIT be established in the hill State, he said.

Enrolment rate

At the same time, he urged Mr. Sibal to open an IIM in the State where the enrolment rate for higher education is over 20 per cent -- double the national average. “The State intends to increase this rate to around 50 per cent in the coming years,” he said.

“Himachal, being a hill State, has different requirements and the request for an IIT should not come in the way of setting up an IIM as some States that have already been allocated IIMs under the 11th Plan have functioning IITs also,” he told Mr. Sibal.

No discrimination

Responding to this, Mr. Sibal said he would look into the matter sympathetically and ensure that the hill State is not discriminated against.

Mr. Dhumal also requested the Centre to provide funds to Himachal Pradesh under the Centrally-sponsored schemes on the pattern of the North-Eastern States as Himachal is one of the 11 Special Category States.

He said the Centre has agreed to set up five polytechnics in Himachal Pradesh in Kinnaur, Bilaspur, Sirmour, Lahaul Spiti and Kullu districts and will provide a financial assistance of Rs.2 crore to each polytechnic for infrastructural developments.

Mr. Dhumal also said the Centre has agreed to open new Central Schools in Bilaspur, Sirmour, Chamba and Una districts which would give a major thrust to quality education in the State.

‘Provide incentives’

Appreciating the reforms being carried out by Mr. Sibal, the Chief Minister said his government was fully geared to implementing the Right to Education Bill and necessary measures had been taken. He said the time had come to provide incentives to better performing States rather than treating everybody at par in order to ensure that quality gets rewarded.