New Delhi: A day after Congress uproar over shutting down of institutions in Amethi and Rae Bareli, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday justified the closure of Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) in Amethi saying law did not permit off-campus centres and it was technically illegal.
In the Rajya Sabha, Mr Javadekar said he wanted to respond to the issue of closure of IIIT, Amethi raised by some members yesterday and asserted that there was "no political vendetta". IIIT, Amethi was sanctioned in 2005 and courses started in 2005-06. This was a full-fledged IIIT, but an off-campus facility of IIIT in Allahabad.
"Law does not permit off-campus centres of IIITs," he said, adding that the one in Amethi, called Rajiv Gandhi IIIT, was "technically illegal". The campus had one permanent facility and one faculty would travel daily from Allahabad. "Students were unhappy and wanted all faculties to be present there," he said, adding that the students were agitating and wanted to be transferred to Allahabad.
A review by IIT Kanpur had also concluded that the students should be transferred to IIIT Allahabad.
"There is no political vendetta. It is the students who are starving for education," he said justifying the closure.
Students had on July 29 gheraoed the Allahabad IIIT faculty and demanded proper education as Amethi campus did not have permanent faculty and they had to rely on one teacher travelling from Allahabad to teach four classes, he said.
Pramod Tiwari (Cong) said if there was any legal lacunae why did the government not overcome it in two years it has been in office.
The BJP government, he alleged, has "political vendetta" in shutting down six institutes and factories in the Lok Sabha constituencies of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.
He said it was the employees of IIIT Amethi which was on agitation against closure.
Mr Javadekar replied saying a general science college of Dr Ambedkar University, Lucknow is being started in Amethi and the employees will be accommodated there. He said in sanctioning Kendriya Vidyalayas after taking over as HRD Minister, he had sanctioned one for Rae Bareli, asserting "we work on merit".
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien told the minister that the Congress member was asking the government to look into any legal and technical lacunae in the Amethi IIIT campus.