This Article is From Sep 24, 2015

Protests in Karnataka's Dharwad Over IIT Location

The new IIT is likely to start functioning in 2016.

Dharwad: The IIT brand - the Indian Institute of Technology - is so widely respected that many states and cities would love to have this prestigious institute come up in their neighbourhood. Dharwad, in north Karnataka, has now been chosen as the site for a new IIT. But instead of celebrations, there have been protests - with even a bandh called in Dharwad on Wednesday.

The city was pleased at this elevation in profile - but celebrations turned to protests when it was learnt that chief minister, Siddaramaiah, had written to the Centre asking them to reconsider and choose Raichur in the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka region instead.

The mayor of the Hubballi Dharwad city corporation, Ashwini Majjagi, said the chief minister was playing politics.

An activist, Siddu, who took part in the protests said, "All people welcomed IIT for Dharwad but our chief minister is just playing cheap politics - he is differentiating between districts. This is a bandh for Hubballi Dharwad - if he continues to recommend Raichur we will have more large-scale protests."

But this concern may ultimately be baseless. It is believed that there will be no change - that once the Human Resource Development ministry has taken a decision it is unlikely to move things around.

The new IIT is likely to start functioning in 2016 from this temporary location in Dharwad. By then, hopefully, all the tussle over where in Karnataka it should actually be will have been peacefully sorted out.