Amid fears that the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM) could be shifted out of Amritsar due to non-availability of suitable land for the project, Punjab local bodies, medical education and research minister Anil Joshi has appealed to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal to ensure that the institute is setup in the holy city and no other place in the state.
In a letter to Badal — copies of which were also released to the media here on Thursday — Joshi put forward the fears of the people of the city on the project.
The minister said he had recently received a letter from a local NGO, ‘Shiksha’, which had expressed reservations on the state government’s sincerity in setting up the IIM in Amritsar. “The people of Amritsar are very keen on setting up of the IIM in their city, but are having doubts that the institute could be shifted elsewhere (in the state) as the local administration has failed to provide a suitable land for it,” the minister stated in the letter.
Joshi, a BJP MLA, who represents the Amritsar north assembly constituency, indicated in the letter that union finance minister Arun Jaitley had sanctioned the project for Amritsar.
During his election campaign for the Amritsar parliamentary constituency last year, Jaitley had brought out a vision document for the development of the city and had made a mention of improving the educational infrastructure in the city.
“Jaitley has fulfilled his promise made to the people of Amritsar,” he stated in the letter.
The minister pointed out that the IIM was a very prestigious project in the history of the holy city, which would not only open new vistas for the students and teaching fraternity, but would also prove to be a boom for the tourism sector.
“The city people seem to be agitated and are ready to go to any extent to prevent the shifting of the IIM to any other place in Punjab. So, as a representative of the people of Amritsar, I request you to kindly order the officers to search for a suitable site of minimum of 60-70 acres near the city for the IIM at the earliest,” warned Joshi, while making it clear that at no cost should it will be shifted from here.
The administration had chosen a 60-acre site (government land) at Aawan village near Ajnala, a sub-divisional town in the district. The site was not found suitable by a team of IIM officials, who had visited here in April, as it was 35 km from Amritsar and located in a remote area that was poorly connected. They had asked the district administration to provide a suitable place closer to the city.
The team was keen on the Amritsar central jail for the IIM, as the jail would be shifted to Fattapur village on Chabal road. However, the administration had expressed its inability in allocating the jail.
The IIM will start functioning from the upcoming academic session at Government Polytechnic Institute near Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU).
Central varsity was shifted to Bathinda
The residents here, including the teaching faculty of the university and in the colleges fear that the non-availability of land could be used as an excuse by Badal to shift the IIM from here to Bathinda or some other place in the Malwa belt.
Such fears do carry weight as in the past a Central University allocated to Amritsar by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was shifted to Bathinda, while taking the land plea.
Union food processing minister and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Badal, daughter-in-law of the chief minister, is already pressing hard for locating the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a central project, at Bathinda.