Herald: Goa should aim to transform itself into a centre of learning
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Goa should aim to transform itself into a centre of learning

17 Jul 2017 06:16am IST
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17 Jul 2017 06:16am IST

The National Institute of Technology, which has been functioning in Goa since 2010, finally got its own plot of land over the weekend.

The National Institute of Technology, which has been functioning in Goa since 2010, finally got its own plot of land over the weekend. After seven years of running its courses from the Goa Engineering College campus at Farmagudi, and two convocations later, the institute of technology that has been declared as an institute of national importance will be able to move to its own premises, but not yet. It will be another three years before it can make that move, as the construction of the campus will now begin and the facility is expected to take three years to be completed. Until then, NIT Goa will continue to function from its existing premises at Farmagudi.

The NIT has been handed over 4,56,767 square metres of land at Cuncolim for its state-of-the-art permanent campus. The tardiness in delivery of land was evident when the certificate of transfer of land it was handed over to the outgoing NIT Director and the incoming Director. The outgoing Director, speaking at the function said, “The NIT in Goa will finally have its own permanent building.” Such a delay in getting land, that should have been commented upon by the Director, is something that should not have happened to an institute of learning. The NIT by this time should have already have had its own campus, and in a position to attract the best minds from Goa and the rest of India.

But there was a delay, and one sentence that spoke volumes about the reason for the delay is the outgoing director saying that the most tedious process while setting up NIT Goa was convincing people in Cuncolim that an NIT is not a polluting industry but is an institute for enlightening students. Yes, an NIT is an institute of higher learning and is far from being an industry. It is sad that the people who opposed the NIT in their neighbourhood had to be convinced about this. Is it so difficult to differentiate between a prestigious engineering institute and an industry?

But it is not just the NIT that has fallen behind in having its own campus. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) – the most prestigious of engineering colleges – that has been offered to Goa and is already running, is also facing similar problems of acceptance. After the villagers of Loliem in Canacona taluka opposed the IIT on their plateau, the government is now considering shifting the IIT to Ponda taluka, but again this is resulting in delays in its proper functioning. Its first batch of students was admitted last year for the 2016-17 academic year, and it too is functioning from the same GEC campus at Farmagudi.

In both cases all the State government had to do was offer the land for the institutes free of cost to be then developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Why was it so difficult for the government to identify land and then convince the people of the importance and prestige of the institute? If it can permit the construction of red industries in agriculture areas, it surely shouldn’t find it so difficult to convince people of the prestige of an institute of technology.

The outgoing Director of the NIT said that the institute has the potential to ‘become a world class centre for learning’, while the incoming Director said he wants to make it ‘different and one of the best institutions’. This is something that Goa should aim for – transforming itself into a centre of learning – a place that which will attract the best minds in the country and the world. The NIT and the IIT are already here, all it needs is a few more prestigious institutes setting up here to transform Goa into a knowledge centre instead of an industrial hub.










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