Foundation stone of IIT in Himachal was laid at Mandi on Tuesday. The Institute is being set up at Kamand, 15 km from Mandi. IIT Roorkee will run this institute as mentor and the first batch of the Institute is scheduled to start from July this year. Presently the admissions will be in B.Tech courses in Computer Science and Engineering , Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, through the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) of the IIT System. A total of one hundred and twenty students will be admitted to these three courses. The classes will commence in a temporary campus at Mandi for the time being. The proposed campus is spread out in 530 acres.
The foundation stone ceremony was marked with the usual rowdiness of the BJP and Congress workers as this was a jointly held ceremony between the state and central govt. The Tribune reports:
Political passion had almost reached a flashpoint among BJP and Congress workers, who had gathered in front of the dais, when Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal took the mike and urged party workers to observe silence and maintain law and order.
The Congress was busy singing praise of the Nehru family. In all this netagiri showmanship every one forgot about Dr. Saxena, the Director of the Institute. As per Tribune:
IIT director Dr SC Saxena, who was to present the votes of thanks at the end of the ceremony, had not even started speaking when almost all political dignitaries left the dais, giving unpleasant experience to the learned gentry present there.
While every political party is basking in the glory in bringing IIT to Himachal, one simple question remains unanswered. How will Himachali students benefit from opening of this Institute? The standards of education in the state run schools is dismissal where the teachers openly indulge in politics. They have time for everything but for their classes and students. There are hardly any private schools which can claim to prepare students for All India Entrance exam other than the Him Academy at Hamirpur.
Another IIT is being opened at Ropar in Punjab. With both Mandi and Ropar having proximity to Chandigarh, it is the coaching centers which will make the fast buck and charge absurd fees in the name of preparing students for IIT. No wonder, Chandigarh may beat Kota as the coaching hub in the near future.