The first session of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), which will be set up in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district, will start this year, said Minister of State for External Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Anand Sharma on Tuesday. 'From this session, the IIT would start holding classes. It's a historic moment for all of us,' Sharma said while laying the foundation stone of the IIT at Kamand village, 11 km from Mandi, on the banks of a tributary of the Beas river. 'The central government last year decided to increase the number of IITs in the country to 15 from the existing seven. Six (IITs) started functioning last year and this (IIT-Mandi) and IIT-Indore would start admission process from this year,' he said. 'The central government had allocated INR1,000 crore for this (Mandi) IIT,' he said, thanking the state government for providing 530 acres for establishing the institute. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was present at the function along with cabinet ministers and legislators, thanked the central government for setting up the prestigious technical institute in the state.
'The government will provide all facilities to start an IIT at a temporary location in Mandi town till necessary infrastructure has been created here,' he said. The IIT would admit students in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science and engineering streams. The central government has sanctioned 40 seats in each stream. Initially, IIT-Roorkee director S.C. Saxena has been given the additional charge of IIT-Mandi. The decision to establish an IIT in Himachal was announced by then finance minister P. Chidambaram while addressing a rally in Shimla Oct 2, 2007. He also announced the opening of a central university in the hill state.