Balangir on the move: expanding its knowledge infrastructure

The recent news of an XIMB campus in Balangir adds a new dimension to Balangir’s knowledge infrastructure. As per the recent Business Standard report:

The XIMB campus at Bolangir will exclusively focus on the Rural Management Programme and will have an intake of 120 students.

“Our campus at Bolangir will be a fully residential facility with a built-up area of 1.55 lakh sq ft and it will only offer the Post Graduate Diploma course in Rural Management. We will phase out the Rural Management programme at our existing campus in Bhubaneswar after the establishment of the Bolangir campus”, Joseph added.

XIMB’s campus will come up about seven km from Bolangir town and the institute wants to offer a rural ambience to the students pursuing the Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management.

XIM should aim to have this institute at the level of IRMA, Anand and put Balangir in the map with respect to rural management institutes. It should rank among the top 3-5 in the country.


Several other knowledge initiatives with respect to Balangir are also in the pipeline. This includes:

  • A university and
  • a WODC sponsored medical college.

There is also possibility that the state government may make some more state engineering colleges and Balangir should and would be a prime candidate for that. 

Besides the above plans, some of the existing higher education institutions in Balangir are:

  • Rajendra College, Balangir
  • Govt. College Balangir
  • Govt. Women’s College Balangir
  • BB Sanskrit College, Balangir
  • Food Craft Institute, Balangir (The Odisha govt. has proposed to upgrade it to an Institute of Hotel Management.)
  • Government Ayurveda College, Balangir
  • Sushree Institute of Technical Education, College Of Nursing, Bolangir (Offers BSc. Nursing)
  • Sushree Institute of Technical Education, School Of Nursing, Bolangir (Offers Diploma Course in General Nursing and Midwifery Training)
  • Four ITIs: I.T.I., Bolangir; ITI (Women), Bolangir; KBK ITC, Bolangir; Sushree ITC, Sadaipali, Bolangir
  • Sushree Institute of Technical Education (SITE),Bolangir (Offering Diploma in Engineering subjects)

Balangir has good connectivity to Bhubaneswar (two daily trains: an intercity day train and Raipur-Puri Express), Sambalpur (daily trains: Koraput-Rourkela, Ispat, Balangir-BBS, Koraput-HWH, Rayagada-SBP, Raipur-Puri, Dhanbad-Allepey), Titlagarh, Jharsuguda and Rourkela in Odisha, and has two daily trains to Howrah, one daily train to Chennai and Kerala, tri-weekly trains to Bangalore, bi-weekly train to Hyderabad, a weekly train to Mumbai, and tri-weekly (to become 5 times a week) trains to Delhi from Titlagarh which is 63 kms away.

The under construction Khurda-Balangir line receiveed 120 crores in this year’s budget and hopefully it will progress at good speed and get similar and larger budgets in the coming years. If that happens then this line could get completed in another 5 years. Once this line is completed the rail connectivity of Balangir will further improve.

Politically, it has an active MP in Kalikesh Singh Deo and MLA in A. U. SinghDeo who is an important minister in Odisha. Also, its interests are being watched over by Balangir natives abroad such as Dr. Sanjiv Karmee.

So things look positive for Balangir.

The most important things to watch for and/or pursue are: Making sure that the proposed university and the medical college that are in the pipeline are indeed established; Making sure that if there are new state engineering colleges then Balangir gets one; Encouraging and enticing other private entities to establish institutes and colleges in Balangir; and Making sure the Khurda-Balangir line gets completed in 5 years.

1 comment April 14th, 2010

New dynamic VCs lead the Sambalpur region towards a knowledge hub

UCE Burla becoming VSSUT and the hiring of dynamic vice Chancellors at VSSUT (Prof. D K Tripathy from IIT Kharagpur) as well as at Sambalpur University (Prof. Arun Pujari from the University of Hyderabad) has given a huge momentum in making the Sambalpur area a knowledge hub and together with similar progress at Rourkela a western knowledge corridor is now in the making. In this write-up we will focus on the greater Sambalpur area ranging from Bargarh in the west of Sambalpur to Jharsuguda and Sundergarh in the north and north east.

  • Universities: Two exists; 2 more in the making
    • There are two universities with dynamic leadership at their helm: VSSUT and Sambalpur University
    • Sambalpur University has received approval and funding for a SU-IIT (Sambalpur University Institute of Information Technology) and is pursuing a sports institute.
    • VSSUT has significant expansion plans.
    • There is a proposal to upgrade GM college to a unitary university.
    • The health minister had announced to upgrade VSS Medical College to a university.
    • Branch of OUAT in Chipilima.
  • Engineering Colleges: Besides VSSUT, there are five more engineering colleges in the area. 2 in Baragarh, 1 in Jharsuguda, 1 in Sundergarh and 1 in Sason (Silicon West).
  • Management Institute: XIMB plans a campus in this area.
  • Centrally funded Institutes: IIHT (Indian Institute of Handloom Technology) in Baragarh.
  • Research Institute: CIFT Burla.
  • Other Colleges: Panchayat College Baragarh, NSCB College Sambalpur, Govt. Womens College Sambalpur, Govt. College Sundergarh and Govt. Womens College Sundergarh.
  • Demography: See http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/2715
  • Infrastructure:

The above gives the current status of this area. In addition to the efforts mentioned above, following should also be pursued.

  • The VSSUT must be upgraded to a national level institute such as an IIEST (Indian Institute of Engineering Science & Technology)
  • An STP must be established in Sambalpur.
  • Operationalization of Jharsuguda airport must be expedited.
  • One of the central government departments such as CSIR, DAE, Sc & Tech, etc. needs to open a research center here.
  • The Orissa government should push to upgrade the VSS Medical College to the AIIMS level.
  • Establishment of private medical colleges in this area must be encouraged.
  • The OUAT college in Chipilima needs to upgraded and expanded
  • A regional university (similar to the old regional engineering colleges, with 50-50 partnership between the state and the central govt.) should be established in Jharsuguda. (This could be part of the 12th five year plan starting from 2012.)
  • A state university should be established in Jharsuguda during the 13th plan. (by 2020)
  • A state university should be established in Baragarh during the 13th plan. (by 2020)
  • Considering the rapid industrialization of the area, the Govt. Engineering School in Jharsuguda should be upgraded to an engineering college, perhaps as a constituent college of VSSUT.

NOTE on Comments: Only constructive comments will be allowed. Please do not submit comments that advocate separatism, conspiracy theories, shifting, badmouthing, etc.

March 14th, 2010

Making Rourkela a Tier II city of India – HRD and other development of Rourkela (work in progress)

Update: See also http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/4308.


Rourkela is the second largest metropolitan area of Orissa with an official metropolitan population of 550,668 but perhaps much more (at least 700 K) if one takes into account nearby places like Biramitrapur and Rajgangpur. It is probably the most cosmopolitan area of Orissa. Because of its steel plant it has world-wide name recognition. It has a lot of young talents; I am told that Rourkela youngsters have done much better in entrance exams like IIT JEE than from other parts of Orissa. Rourkela and the Sundergarh district have produced many national hockey players (both male and female), some of whom have gone on to captain the Indian national side.

Being an important station in the Mumbai-Howrah line, Rourkela is very well connected to both. The National Institute of Technology at Rourkela is often ranked among the top 5 NITs of the country; in recent years it has done much better and is in the process of starting a business program. Rourkela also has two private engineering colleges and at least one more is in the works. Rourkela has at least two good magament schools: Rourkela Institute of Management Studies (sometimes ranked nationally) and Indian Institute of Production Management, Kansbahal.  

Overall, Rourkela has the potential to be a Tier II city of India at the level of Vizag, Chandigarh, etc. But unfortunately, that has not happened so far and active organized efforts need to  be made to achieve that.

So here I will list some of the things that should be pursued so that Rourkela becomes a Tier II city of India.

Knowledge and HRD aspects:

  • Metropolitan University: Rourkela is perhaps the largest metropolitan area of the country, or may be the whole world which does not have a general university. This needs to be rectified at the earliest. IMHO, the best model to follow would be of Delhi University. So a Rourkela Metropolitan University should be established  with graduate programs as well as with a few constituent colleges spread (offering Bachelors as well as Masters degrees) across the metropolitan area, but with no affiliated colleges. The exisiting government colleges in Rourkela (Govt. College, Rourkela; SG Women’s, Rourkela and Rourkela College) would be made constituents of this university.
  • Medical College: Although a WODC sponsored PPP-based medical college is in the works, we must continue pursuing an ESIC medical college here. SAIL, which is making a medical college in Bokaro, should also be pushed to establish a medical college here.
  • BPUT: BPUT must become fully operational from Rourkela.It  needs to have real departments and centers and offer its own courses. It should be expanded to have programs in Science and Humanities.
  • Research Centers: The state should pursue one of the central government departments such as CSIR, DAE, Sc & Tech, etc. to open a research center in Rourkela.
  • Centrally funded University: At some point a centrally funded university should be pursued for Rourkela.
  • More private institutions: Rourkela has the population base and the amenities that metropolitan areas offer to have more private institutions such as engineering colleges, management institutions etc. A multi-pronged apporoach should be taken.
    • Local big industries should be cajoled to participate in this. For example, SAIL is also planning an engineering college in Bokaro. They should be pushed to have one in Rourkela.
    • Local people should also open private institutions on their own.
    • Educational foundations inside and outside state that have developed good private institutions should be approached and invited to open institutions in Rourkela. Inside Orissa, institutions like Silicon and NIST should be approached. 
  • STP: The STP at Rourkela should be expanded.
  • IT/BPO: Because of the cosmopolitan nature of Rourkela, it would be a good place for BPO and call center operations. This should be pursued.
  • Sports Institute/University: Sundergrah district is considered by many to be the Hockey cradle of India, both in men’s and women’s hockey. It has produced both Men’s and Women’s hockey team captains in Dilip Tirkey and Jyoti Sunita Kullu. Orissa government should pursue to establish a National Sports Institute (of the kind in Patiala) in Rourkela. It should include programs in physical training, coach training, official training etc. This would specially contribute  in the enhancing the employment opportunities for Adivasis who constitute 50.74% of Sundergarh’s population.

Connectivity Aspects:

  • Rail Connectivity -Trains: While the connectivity to Mumbai and Kolkata is marvelous, connectivity to other places needs improvement. Dilip has a good list of new trains needed for Rourkela at http://rourkelarail.wetpaint.com/page/DEMANDS. This list is:
    • Rourkela-Bhubaneswar Intercity Express( Day Time)
    • Rourkela-Berhampur Gajapati Express
    • Rourkela-Secundarabad/Hyderabad Express
    • Trains to New Delhi from Bhubaneswar via Rourkela OR Rourkela-Nizamuddin/New Delhi Express (Any extension of Ranchi-Hatia or Tatanagar trains will also work)
    • Trains to Patna and Eastern U.P.
  • Rail Connectivity-Others: The Talcher-Bimlagarh line must be fast-tracked.
  • Roads: The 4-laning of the state highway 10 connecting Sambalpur and Rourkela must be expedited.
  • Air Connectivity: Rourkela airport must be made functional with commercial flights at the earliest.

Metro area:

  • A larger metropolitan area for Rourkela that includes Kansbahal and Rajgangpur in the west and Biramitrapur in the North must be formally established.
  • The state government should pursue Rourkela to be included in JNNURM.

(The above is from Google Maps.)

(The above is from "sarini: Occasional papers, No. 4, Adivasis of Rourkela")

Work in Progress…

43 comments November 15th, 2009


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