Patna, July 12: Bihar has begun picking its brains on how to provide land for the proposed Indian Institute of Management (IIM), the announcement of which was made in the general budget on Thursday.
Though state education minister Brishen Patel said it was “too early” to start the land hunt, sources in the department told The Telegraph that acquiring land for the institute needed to be given a thought from now to avoid any hiccups later.
“The government will definitely give a thought on the issue of land for the institute. But it is a bit too early as it isn’t clear whether the state government has to provide land for the new IIM or will the Centre arrange for it. We would definitely want the institute to come up in or near the state capital. We will act after we get the finer details from the Centre,” Patel said.
Sources in the education department said the brain-storming has begun.
“In all cases when a national institute is given to the state, the land for the institute has to be arranged by the state government. Whether it is the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), National Institute of Technology (NIT), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) or Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), the state government was given the task of arranging the land. The IIM too will not be an exception. The department is checking land availability in and around Patna. Bihta, around 25km from Patna, can be a good location,” a source in the department said.
Land has turned out to be a major roadblock in the state with industrialisation suffering because of its paucity. Even some national institutes in Bihar are feeling the pinch of the land crunch.
Industrialist Satyajit Kumar said if the government was serious about an IIM, they needed to settle the land issue immediately.
“Whenever a national institute is given to any state, it is the responsibility of the government there to provide land. First, the state government can acquire land through Biada (Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority). But this is unlikely. Biada, right now, has very little land and the process of fresh allotments to industries has been stopped for almost a year. The second option is much easier. There are many departments who have their own parcels of empty or unused land in various places in the state. However, a premier institute like IIM should ideally be near Patna and the education department has to start looking from now. If they do not have their own land near Patna, they will have to knock on the doors of other departments,” Kumar told The Telegraph.
Central institutes at presently operating in the state capital have had mixed experiences on the land front.
NIT director Asok De said the government has not been able to clear the land problems for them in the last 10 years. “NIT came to Bihar in 2004 and since then we are functioning from a temporary campus on Ashok Rajpath. The state government provided us 100 acres of land in Bihta but we have not been able to start construction as yet. The land belonged to the building construction department and we paid them the advance money too. But the landowners there started to protest and the project has got into a legal tangle. Before the Lok Sabha polls, we had met then chief secretary A.K. Sinha, who had asked us to wait. The wait is still on,” De said.
“The institute started functioning from a temporary campus in Pataliputra in 2008. Within two to three months, the government provided us with 535 acres of land in Bihta. Construction began but last year, landowners started protests for which work was stalled for almost a fortnight. However, things are going okay now and we hope the new campus will be ready within three months. Shifting will take an additional four to five months,” said A.K. Bhowmik, director, IIT-Patna.
The medical centre has missed several deadlines. It has now been asked to start formally at any cost by December 25 this year.
“We were given 100 acres of land by the government in Phulwarisharif and construction work is on. But we need 100 acres more. We hope the whole campus will be ready by 2015,” said director G.K. Singh.
S.P. Singh, the registrar of CNLU, said the government had helped them with land. “The state provided us with 18 acres of land at Mithapur. We started construction in 2008 and work was completed by 2010 without any problems. We are functioning smoothly,” Singh said.