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IIM, IIIT campuses left in lurch

Nothing seems to be working in favour of Jharkhand’s premier cradle duo — IIM-Ranchi and Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT).

First, it was a lethargic bureaucracy, which took months to identify land in Nagri for the triple campus — including one for National University for Study and Research in Law (NUSRL) — and then buckled under intense pressure from agitating local residents and rights activists. The government, finally, had to decide to relocate IIM and IIIT, while retaining around 75 acres of the total 228 acres for NUSRL.

Hopes soared again for the two deprived cradles in December last year, when the Ranchi district administration identified around 200 acres in Rajaulatu mouza of Namkum circle, 15km from the capital. In fact, deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey had confirmed the development a couple of days ago and said a formal proposal had been sent to the government for final nod.

But, with the JMM submitting a formal letter to withdraw its support from the BJP-led government and chief minister Arjun Munda tendering his resignation at Raj Bhavan on Tuesday morning, uncertainty has returned to haunt IIM and IIIT.

“It is a great setback for us and for the state as well,” IIM director M.J. Xavier said. “The stalemate over a permanent campus had barely started easing when we are back to where we started. I am not at all in a position to even anticipate what will happen next. We just have to wait and watch, hoping for a brighter day for IIM, as the situation is under no one’s control,” he added.

In the face of such political adversities, is there a possibility of Jharkhand losing IIM?

“When this elite cradle was planned in Ranchi, the social mindset and rural culture of the place was kept in mind. Even courses were designed in a way so that it did not hurt sensitivity of students. The IIM dream was dreamt with Jharkhand in mind. Relocation will only blur that vision. So, till the time I am at the helm of affairs, I won’t allow that to happen,” the director maintained.

The change of guard in the government, meanwhile, not just means delay of schemes, which were in the pipeline, but also hurdle for a campus at the newly identified location.

A senior IT department official said Munda for one believed that setting up educational cradles was one major way of taking the state ahead. “So, he was instrumental in providing alternative land for the twin campuses. But, things are unstable now. If the new head of state advocates further change in location, expect inordinate delay before any of the cradles come up,” he added.

Will the IIM campus come up in Ranchi anytime soon?


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