Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday announced that his government will set up an IT park in Lucknow to attract companies to the state capital.
The announcement follows a “brainstorming” session he had with HCL founder and chairman Shiv Nadar here last week.
Akhilesh was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 125-year celebrations of Isabella Thoburn College in Lucknow. The IT college claims to be the oldest missionary college for women in Asia.
Referring to his talks with Shiv Nadar, Akhilesh said that HCL wanted to go to Noida. “But I said I wanted the company to come to Lucknow. The last government had established stone parks. We want to establish IT parks,” he told the gathering.
Akhilesh promised all possible assistance to the IT college “which has succeeded in providing good facilities to students without any government aid”. He said the government would help the college in getting university status if the institution so wanted.
Another gift to the college from the chief minister, which came in a dramatic way, was the promise of Rs 1 crore grant for extending its hostel facilities. Akhilesh cut into the concluding remarks of a college functionary and said, “I have lived in a hostel and I am well aware of its problems.” The college has a single hostel for 300 students.
He also announced that his government will provide free education for girls pursuing medical and engineering courses. He said that women’s education up to graduation will also be free. These were promised in the SP’s election manifesto, but were greeted with much cheering and clapping by the girls.
Akhilesh’s trip to the college had a relaxed air about it. While he arrived at the college alone, his wife Dimple joined him later on college principal Dr E S Charles’ insistence. The students were clearly excited. This was Akhilesh’s first visit to a college after taking over as CM. He was welcomed with much cheering and clapping, which also marked his speech.
UPCC chief and MLA Rita Bahuguna Joshi, Rural Development Minister Arvind Singh Gope and former student union leader and SP MLA from Ayodhya Pawan Pandey were present. Joshi was sitting in the audience when Akhilesh spotted her and insisted that she join him on the dais. Chief Post Master General Colonel Kamlesh Chandra issued a stamp commemorating the contribution of the IT college to women’s education in the country.