Goa chief minister new poster boy for IIT alumni

Wednesday, 19 February 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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PANAJI: He shifted from metallurgy to welding political alliances out of disparate groups.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, now busy engineering political manoeuvres, is emerging as the new poster boy for alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

Parrikar, an IIT Mumbai graduate who worked a small miracle in this state by leading the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) back to power last year, never fails to get noticed at IIT-alumni bashes.

In Bangalore, photographs showed him with alumni now in top software slots. U.S. newspapers briefly reported remarks he made during a meet there early this year that was also addressed by Microsoft chief Bill Gates.

It may be a coincidence, but the ascent to power of the first technologist chief minister in Goa came just as the state's IIT alumni association was stepping up its activities. The association has listed 63 members in this state of 1.35 million people and estimates the number of alumni could be around 100.

And the association has been trying to help the authorities.

"Basically we're trying to improve the quality of life in the society we live in. We had the privilege of campus life in IIT that gave us ways and means to improve quality within limits," an association spokesman told IANS.

"One thing we thought of immediately is to play a role in generating awareness of the need for quality technical education."

Some IIT old boys are advising Goa's Board for Technical Education.

"Goa Engineering College (the oldest of three such colleges in this state) is a good institution with a beautiful campus. But it is about three and a half decades old now and is under-utilised. If we are able to increase its utilisation, we would have contributed quite a bit," the spokesman added.

Not many from this coastal state make it to the IITs, the country's top technical institutes. Some voice concern about this, noting with concern that the number of students from the state in the premier institutes had not picked up after peaking nearly two and a half decades ago.

Incidentally, Goa has had other highly qualified chief ministers.

Pratapsinh Rane of the Congress who led the state in the 1980s and 1990s is a management graduate from an American university. And Wilfred de Souza, who served three brief stints in the chief minister's office, was once considered one of the state's top surgeons.

Source: IANS
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