A committee of experts is likely to visit Dharwad, Raichur and Mysuru soon to assess the facilities available for setting up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).
The indication to this effect was given by Union Minister for Human Resources Development Smriti Irani to a delegation of elected representatives from political parties in north Karnataka which met her in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Led by state BJP president and Dharwad MP Prahlad Joshi, the delegation comprising of Union Minister Ananthkumar, leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar, Dharwad district in-charge minister Dinesh Gundurao, legislators Veeranna Mattikatti, S V Sankanur, Prasad Abbayya, Nagaraj Chabbi, Arvind Bellad, Vinay Kulkarni, Basavaraj Bommai, C S Shivalli, N H Konaraddi, Somanna Bevinamarad, Laxman Savadi, Sanjay Patil, MPs Prabhakar Kore, Shivakumar Udasi, Suresh Angadi, P C Gaddgoudar, Ananthkumar Hegde and former minister C M Udasi among others met Irani and submitted a memorandum urging her to set up an IIT at Dharwad.
Responding to the plea, Smruti Irani said she would soon send a committee of experts to study the situation and asked the delegation to provide all the necessary information to the committee.
The delegation also met Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu and urged him to include Hubballi-Dharwad in the list of cities chosen to be developed as a ‘smart city’. Responding to this, Naidu told the delegation that the guidelines for selection of cities for the Smart City project were ready and the same would be sent to the states in a couple of days.
He clarified that the selection of cities depends on the recommendations made by the respective state governments and asked the delegation to convince the state government on the need to include Hubballi-Dha- rwad in the list recommended to the Centre.
The delegation met Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari and explained to the need to convert the Hubballi-Dharwad bypass and Hubballi-Haveri National Highway into a six-lane stretch.
It also asked for upgrading the roads between Tadas and Kalghatagi, Dharwad, and Kalghatagi, Dharwad and Hebsur and Navalgund and Annigeri.
Hubballi-Dharwad West MLA Arvind Bellad told Business Standard on Thursday that the response of the ministers to the delegation was encouraging and positive. He said, the rumour that Hubballi-Dharwad had not figured in the list of cities selected for the Smart City project was baseless. “Minister Venkaiah Naidu has clarified that the list is yet to be prepared,” Bellad said.