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To have or not to have Discovery Park in IIIT s

The Discovery Park project in doldrums whose idea was to educate farmers on the new techniques of farming soil testing and at the same time take up research

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Even as the Centre said that the mega food park in Amethi was cancelled as the promoter company failed to comply with requisite conditions for approval, the Congress alleged that the Narendra Modi government is now planning to shift the IIIT campus and Science and Technology Discovery Park out of Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency.

Established in 2005 as extension campus of Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT)-Allahabad, the Amethi campus was named as Rajiv Gandhi IIIT while the Discovery Park, planned in 2008, is considered as Rahul Gandhi’s pet project.

While IIIT-Allahabad has already communicated to the Department of Science and Technology its inability to operate Discovery Park, a committee headed by IIT-Kanpur director Indranil Manna has been formed by Union HRD Ministry to look into the sustainability of IIIT-Amethi extension campus.

The committee is expected to give its report by end of May. The Discovery Park, to be established at IIIT-Amethi campus, was termed as first of its kind project in India. The idea was to have a park with experts to educate farmers on the new techniques of farming, soil testing and at the same time take up research.

However, the parent institute, IIIT-Allahabad,  said they do not have expertise in agriculture to sustain it. Moreover, in a letter sent to Department of Science and Technology, IIIT-Allahabad claims that it has been informed that the proposal was never given final clearance.

“It was in May last year only that our board had decided that it was not possible to sustain the park and had informed the Department of Science and Technology about our decision. Recently, the department made it clear that the proposal to establish discovery park at Amethi campus was never given final nod because we do not have the expertise in the field of agriculture to operate it,” said Prof Somenath Biswas, director, IIIT-Allahabad.

Meanwhile, Congress alleged that NDA government has made its mind to close the extension campus and was only doing an eye-wash exercise. “We have come to know that they have made up their mind to close IIIT-Amethi campus like they did with the food park. They are indulging in politics of vengeance,” said Satyavrat Tripathi, chairman, UP Congress Communication Department.

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