|The IT dream in north Karnataka has just gotten more distant. In a surprising volte-face, the state government has proposed shifting the new Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) from Gulbarga to Dharwad.|
| Earlier this month, the state government had announced that a new IIIT would be housed at Gulbarga as part of the 20 such institutes being set up by the Centre across the country. But the state government has now written to the Centre to locate the new IIIT in Dharwad instead of at Gulbarga.|
Confirming the move, state Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said the IIIT was being shifted as Gulbarga already had two universities—a central university and a state university. “Moreover, the Employment State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) is establishing a medical college and hospital in Gulbarga. Since there is a constraint on land, we decided to shift the IIIT to Dharwad,” he said.
Acharya said Dharwad was chosen as Hubli-Dharwad was the second largest city in Karnataka. “Dharwad has a very supportive academic environment, and we felt that it would be better suited to have the IIIT in Dharwad,” he said.
Since Karnatak University in Dharwad was nearly 50 years old, it would provide a supporting environment for the IIIT. The state government will now have to identify around 50 acres to hand over to the Central government.
Interestingly, Hubli-Dharwad already has a functional IIIT. With the present proposal, the twin city will have two IIITs. The Bangalore unit of IIIT has opened a centre in Hubli that offers a finishing school programme in collaboration with the IT industry. Currently, it offers certification programme in Information Technology Management, and Embedded and Real Time systems. The institute has also been holding special recruitment drives for students from the region.
The IIIT will be established on a private-public partnership model, with Centre bearing 50 per cent of the cost of establishing the institute. The state government will bear 35 per cent, and industry will bear 15 per cent of the total cost. The capital expenditure will be around Rs 128 crore, while the Centre will provide partial support towards recurring expenditure of upto Rs 10 crore to the IIIT depending on requirements.