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Distance separates mentors, new IIMs

IIM Amritsar is located about 25 minutes away from Amritsar airport. However, reaching the institute involves a journey of about 12 hours for the faculty from the institute’s mentor, IIM Kozhikode. Most of the flights from Kozhikode to Amritsar have two stops, Mumbai and Delhi.

education Updated: Sep 18, 2015 18:29 IST
Rozelle Laha
Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and others at the launch of IIM-Bodh Gaya’s academic session on Monday. (Rajesh Kumar/ HT photo)
Union HRD minister Smriti Irani and others at the launch of IIM-Bodh Gaya’s academic session on Monday. (Rajesh Kumar/ HT photo)

IIM Amritsar is located about 25 minutes away from Amritsar airport. However, reaching the institute involves a journey of about 12 hours for the faculty from the institute’s mentor, IIM Kozhikode. Most of the flights from Kozhikode to Amritsar have two stops, Mumbai and Delhi. Sources say faculty members from IIM Kozhikode board a flight from Calicut Airport at 11.40am to reach New Delhi at 4.40pm after stopping in Mumbai for little more than an hour. Their flight leaves New Delhi at 10:15 pm, reaching Amritsar at 11:30pm. This means loss of a full working day for them.

Asked about the level of dependency of newly set up IIMs on the mentor institute, a senior IIM official on conditions of anonymity says, “For now, IIM Amritsar will have to completely depend on the mentoring institute for faculty members as quality is a major concern at any new IIM; the faculty should be familiar with the IIM system. So, it is always a good option to get the faculty members from the mentoring institute rather than any other institute close by.” An IIM official confirmed that on an average three faculty members have to be available on (the new) campus at any given point of time, at an institute with 50 or more students.

IIM Bodh Gaya, too, is located close to the Gaya International Airport but doesn’t have any direct flights from Kolkata, home to its mentor institute, IIM Calcutta. “We are taking trains from Kolkata to reach Gaya. It takes about six hours. We also have the option of travelling to Patna and taking a flight to Kolkata but that would be very tortuous as it is a long ride to Patna from IIM Bodh Gaya,” says Manish Thakur, professor, IIM Calcutta. Similar problems are faced by faculty from IIM Lucknow mentoring IIM Sirmaur; IIM Indore mentoring IIM Sambalpur and IIM Ahmedabad mentoring IIM Nagpur as no direct flights connect the cities mentioned.

IIM Visakhapatnam being mentored by IIM Bangalore, however, has direct flights connecting Bangalore and Visakhapatnam. As Dr Sourav Mukherji, dean-programmes at IIM Bangalore and nodal officer of IIM Visakhapatnam puts it, “Good connectivity is beneficial to us at IIM Bangalore because many our faculty members will be travelling to and fro frequently while some are stationed at Visakhapatnam. Our administrative staff have also been travelling to set up infrastructure and processes at Visakhapatnam. In such a scenario, good connectivity certainly helps.”

Distance matters
Though most newly- set up IIMs are located close to their city airports, there are no direct flights connecting them to cities where their mentor institutes are located. So, mentor institute faculty in most cases spends a whole working day travelling from one city to another