Bihar minister protests railways' 'decision' to shift IRIMEE- Jamalpur; deputy CM denies report

(Eds: Adds deputy CM's reaction) Patna, May 6 (PTI) Senior Bihar minister Sanjay Kumar Jha on Wednesday urged Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to rescind the 'outrageous' order to shift century-old Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (IRIMEE) from Jamalpur in the state's Munger district.

Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, however, said Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told him that the reports of closing or shifting the IRIMEE from Jamalpur to Lucknow are 'baseless'.

Jha, a close confidante of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said the 'intriguing' move to shift the institution out of Jamalpur has hurt the emotions of the state's people.

Kumar, who served as railway minister in the NDA government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had written to Goyal on May 1, urging him to immediately revoke the decision.

Founded in 1888, IRIMEE has produced several illustrious railwaymen, including current Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani.

'#Bihar takes strong exception to @RailMinIndia's 24 Apr order to shift prestigious #Jamalpur-based Indian Railway Institute of Mechanical & Electrical Engineering out of Munger. CM Sri @NitishKumar has asked Sri @PiyushGoyal to intervene on this regressive move (sic),' Jha tweeted.

He said the Bihar government had urged the Centre in 2015 to upgrade IRIMEE to a university but it was informed that instead, the National Academy of Railway in Vadodara was being converted into the country's first railway university and IRIMEE shall operate under it.

The minister's statement came in reaction to reports that the government is planning to shift IRIMEE, the oldest of the five Centralised Training Institutes (CTIs) for officers of the Indian Railways, to the outskirts of Lucknow.

Its great historical linkage with Bihar needs to be strengthened and not severed, he said, adding that Goyal should intervene and ensure rescind of the 'outrageous order'.

Sushil Modi later said Goyal told him over phone that there was no question of either closing or shifting the IRIMEE of Jamalpur.

Rather, the Centre has decided to develop the institute as a campus of the Railway and Transport University in Vadodara where mechanical and engineering students of Railway can get training, the deputy chief minister said.

Modi said the railway minister received Kumar's letter and would reply to him to 'clarify the situation.' PTI SNS SOM NN NN