When the good news percolates through, it is a matter of welcoming it with a cheer as in the State it comes in small doses and with long gaps. And, as in this case, the news is qualified with the word ‘finally’ that’s how rare it is to stumble upon some real good news. After having been established in the State in 2010 and having already seen a large number of students pass out through its portals, the National Institute of Technology (NIT) will finally have its own building. But not so soon, as construction work on the NIT building was begun only on Friday.
With a small ceremony and a Bhumipuja the construction work on the 6.8 km-long compound wall of the institute was begun for the permanent multi-facility complex at Cuncolim. Once it is completed the State will have one of the country’s technical educational facilities in its own campus, something that the State has been missing for a long time. The NIT will be a boon to aspiring engineers as 50 per cent of the seats will be reserved for Goan students. Besides, the institute is training teachers prepare students for the NIT, so that it attracts the best minds in the State and the applicants meet the standards of the NIT.
The institute was allotted a plot of land in July last year. It took another 17 months for construction to begin. The longest delay was in identifying suitable land, acquiring it and then handing it over to NIT. The hunt for the land began in 2009 but there were objections from the people and the acquisition process was put on hold. It was taken up again years later, and the land handed over last year. Sadly, at the handing over ceremony, the then NIT Director, speaking at the function had said, “The NIT in Goa will finally have its own permanent building.”
A delay of eight years in identifying and handing over land to an institute of learning is a reflection on the speed at which the government works. By this time the NIT should have already have had its own campus, rather than being in the process of starting construction work on the boundary wall. It took a lot on convincing for the people to accept the NIT in their vicinity, strange when an NIT is an institute of higher learning and not a polluting industry. The acceptance of the educational facility came grudgingly, and there have been requests for reservations of post for Cuncolkars and the institute’s cooperation to uplift educational institutions in Cuncolim.
While NIT has got its land and has now begun construction, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is yet to be allotted its plot of land. A parcel of land in Cortali got cabinet approval for acquisition in October last, and the process will now begin. Part of the identified land already belongs to the government so there is reason to hope that the already delayed process will not face major bottle necks, though it will require a zoning change. In the meantime, both institutions will run from the temporary facility given to them at the Goa Engineering College campus in Farmagudi.
The NIT and IIT should spur Goa to aim to attract more institutes that are considered as centre of excellence in education. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) that is being planned, will add to the lustre. The possibility of promoting Goa as an educational hub must also be explored so that the State transforms itself into a centre of learning, attracting the best minds in the country and the world. Let the NIT at Cuncolim be the start of this.