A 60-acre plot for setting up the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in the district was finalised on Thursday with a four-member team from the Central government giving its nod.
The site chosen is near Nijjerpura and Rakh Cheetha villages, 15 km from Amritsar city and 700 metre off the busy National Highway 1.
It is a 60-acre plot, the minimum required to set up an IIM.
Besides Manawala village, which is close to the site, has a railway station on the busy Amritsar-Jalandhar-Delhi rail section and once the IIM starts functioning, some trains could be made to halt here. Amritsar is well-connected by air to Delhi and a few other places.
Now, the only remaining procedural roadblock is approval from the union ministry for human resource development (HRD) before construction can begin.
The land in question was recently purchased from a private developer by the Amritsar Development Authority (ADA), which has agreed to transfer the land to the IIM Society free of cost.
The central team comprised Shalinder Singh, from the HRD ministry; Prof S Balooni, from IIM Kozikhode; C Rao, principal secretary for higher education and AL Gupta, a senior engineer with the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
These four members, along with (officiating) deputy commissioner Pradeep Sabharwal and Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) chairman Sandeep Rishi, who also heads the ADA, visited the site on Thursday.
The four members of the Central team expressed satisfaction with the site due to its ideal location — of being near the city and along NH-I, which runs straight down to New Delhi.
PREVIOUS SITES REJECTED DUE TO POOR CONNECTIVITY
Initially, the Punjab government had identified Sairo Bagga village near Beas and Awaan, near Ajnala for the IIM. However, the central team that had visited the two locations in April had rejected both sites, due to their distance from the city and poor road/rail connectivity.
This had led to fears among the residents of the holy city that the Badals were looking for an excuse to shift the IIM project from here to Bathinda or any other place in the Malwa region. This led to local bodies minister Anil Joshi writing to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal expressing apprehension that the IIM project will be shifted out just as was done with the Central University, which was to be set up here but was shifted to Bathinda on the grounds that land for setting up the university was not available in Amritsar district.