Child prodigy Budhia Singh was seen in a new avatar on Sunday. The five-year-old wonder kid led the protest march organised by a group of civil society organisations and MPs over the shifting of a greenfield IIT from Orissa to Andhra Pradesh. Holding a placard and using his lung powers to the maximum, Budhia emerged as the latest icon to hold several disparate groups together. He appeared to be well conversant with the IIT issue also.
Budhia told HT, "Being one of the poorest states of India so far as the infrastructure in higher education is concerned, Orissa should get the priority in the establishment of an IIT. As the IIT would be of great use for our future, many more children of my age should also come forward and join hands for the demand."
Earlier, on certain public campaigns against AIDS, Dowry Tortures and on issues of Child Labour, Budhia had taken to the streets of Bhubaneswar participating in rallies and demonstrations. But he got a chance to rub shoulders with some important MPs and Oriya cine stars for the first time.
Rajya Sabha member Baijayant Panda and Lok Sabha member Archana Nayak, eminent Oriya cinestars and singers like Prafulla Kar and a number of other personalities from different fields participated in the protest march. A delegation of the protestors submitted a memorandum to President APJ Abdul Kalam through Orissa Governor Rameshwar Thakur to immediately intervene and ensure development of educational and scientific infrastructure in Orissa. A demand was also made to upgrade the University College of Engineering (UCE) at Burla to an Indian Institute of Engineering, Science & Technology (IIEST).
DK Ray, president of Aagami Odisha, an NGO which organized Sunday's protests, criticized the UPA government at Centre for "neglecting the development of Orissa" and said, the move to ignore the state's demand would be strongly protested by a social coalition formed by the organization, comprising eminent personalities in all fields.
Later this month Aagami Odisha would organize a rally in New Delhi over the IIT demand, in which Budhia Singh may take part along with other personalities, Ray informed.