IIT, Bihar and Japan

Should someone who keeps Bihar near to his heart not feel bad about Japan’s preference of Andhra Pradesh over Bihar for helping in setting up its IIT? Perhaps, normally I wouldn’t have been shocked to see the news while surfing in early hours of Thursday. “Japan, which was slated to collaborate with the new Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to come up in Bihar, is now not keen on doing so. Instead, the Japanese are putting their pie on the IIT that is to be set up in Andhra Pradesh.”

It was sometime in 2007 that the media reported Japan’s interest in setting up Bihar’s IIT. I don’t know why Japan showed interest in working in Bihar at that time. Did it expect some miraculous change in law and order situation with the coming in of Nitish’s government that has not materialized?

I myself doubt the seriousness of the interest of Indian delegation in pleading the case of Bihar. It would have pleaded the case of balanced development of the different regions of the country to Japan. With my experiences of dealing with Japanese from different automakers, I know they need to be really convinced to get into any business. That was the reason that its first attempt to come in India’s auto sector in big way failed. Only Suzuki could establish itself strongly in India.

Why should India allow Japan to discriminate between the states for IIT? But I do agree that accessibility of Hyderabad is far better, more so with new International airport. With many industries all around, Hyderabad is certainly a better choice today. But was that the consideration when Late Dr. BC Roy could get the first IIT located at Kharagpur. What were the means to access Kharagpur but railways or very poor roads? Moreover, it for the government at the center that can materially change the accessibility. Patna or Boddha Gaya can easily be changed into an International hub for air traffic linking the whole of East Asia that is Buddhist.

The bogey of law and order is a creation of Indians more than the Japanese. Unfortunately, it is the Indian bureaucracy and the in-flight of the political leaders from Bihar in New Delhi that are damaging the case for the development of Bihar.

The media report has mentioned the name of Sanjeev Sinha, director (new business group), UBS Investment Bank, as the mediator between the Indian and Japanese governments. As I understand he is an IIT alumnus. I wish he explained the role played by the delegation to convince Japanese about the case of Bihar in detail. It should not be just a one-sentence statement rejecting the case of Bihar. If law and order is the reason, nothing should come up in Noida and Gurgaon.

The news is shocking and derogatory too. I wish the chief minister and the people of Bihar take a note of it and see how hard they are to work to wash off the poor perception about Bihar in India as well as abroad.

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