Land Rider for IIM in Gaya Near Nalanda University

A site selection panel for IIM Bihar has put its weight behind Gaya with certain riders even as the human resource development (HRD) ministry was hesitant on the choice of location of the premier B-school.

The committee headed by Amarjeet Sinha, additional secretary in the ministry, visited possible sites in Patna and Gaya two months ago. In its report, the committee is learnt to have favoured Gaya with the condition that the state government has to commit that the land being offered there does not involve any dispute and that it would provide a temporary campus in the city, sources told The Telegraph.

The Bihar government has been pushing for Gaya as the site for the IIM. It has identified land on the campus of Magadh University for the proposed institute, which would start functioning from the coming academic session with five other new IIMs in the states of Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.

The Educational Consultants India Ltd (EdCIL) has detailed project reports on the proposed institutions outlining their functioning and future expansion. The ministry would soon seek cabinet approval for these institutions after which the process of appointment of directors will be started.

The ministry was not ready to accept Gaya initially. At a meeting on October 28 last year, higher education secretary Satyanarayan Mohanty had asked the state government to find out a site in Patna. The reason the Centre was not keen on Gaya was that the airport there was operational seasonally. One of the factors to select a site for institutions like IIT, IIM or a Central University is that the place should have regular flight connectivity.

Another reason for which Gaya was being ignored was that it did not have enough industries around it. The management institutions collaborate with industry for different research projects and provide consultancy. The institutes offer executive management programmes for in-service industry persons also.

The committee visited a site on the outskirts of Patna where the IIT would come up. However, the IIT authorities have declined to part with land for the proposed IIM. Since Gaya seems to the only option, the committee has agreed on it with conditions, sources said.

The plot in Magadh University is not free from dispute. The piece of land was donated to the university by the Mahant of Bodhgaya math in the 1960s with the condition that it would not be sub-let to others. The committee says that the state government should settle its issue with the mutt and provide dispute-free land.

Gaya, about 130km south of the state capital, would host a few other institutions soon. The HRD ministry is setting up the Central University of South Bihar in Gaya while the ministry of external affairs is in the process of establishing the Nalanda University at a place 70km from Gaya.

The committee's recommendations are now being examined by HRD minister Smriti Irani.

The Bihar government and the Union HRD ministry were at loggerheads over selecting a location for Central University of Bihar during the UPA regime when Kapil Sibal helmed the department. While the state government wanted Motihari as the site, the ministry insisted on Gaya. As the stalemate continued, the UPA government decided to set up two central universities, one in Gaya and another at Motihari.
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