The Government of India and the J &K government may explore the possibility of establishing an off-site campus of the Indian Institute Management (IIM), in Kashmir, Greater Kashmir has learnt.
Sources disclosed that GoI communique spelling details of Rs 80000 crore financial package announced by the Prime Minister NarendraModi in Srinagar on November 7 provides for the prospect of setting up an "offsite campus" of IIM Jammu in the Valley—something seen as balancing act by the Centre after announcing establishment of AIIMS in Jammu.
Under the package, Rs 1000 crore central assistance has been kept for establishment of IIM Jammu "with possibility of 'out campus' in the Valley", official sources said.
A senior state government official said the idea of establishing off-site campus of IIM in Kashmir was exchanged with the GoI before finalization of the package. "The idea may be explored," he said.
In 2015-16 Union budget, Finance Minister ArunJaitley had announced setting up of an the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and IIM in the State. While Jammu walked away with IIM, the government's decision to establish AIIMS in Kashmir triggered protests in Jammu. This prompted the GoI to sanction another AIIMS for Jammu.
This was the second time in the past six years that Jammu region saw agitation over establishment of a central institution in Kashmir. In 2009, the Congress-led UPA proposed Central University for Kashmir and IIM for Jammu. The move to sanction CU for Kashmir triggered protests in Jammu, forcing the Human Resources Development Ministry, then headed by KapilSibal, to set-up two central universities in the State and abort the IIM plan.
The Government of India's nod to establishment of AIIMS in Jammu has given birth to demand for setting up of IIM, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) in Kashmir with civil society questioning that "everything cannot go into Jammu's kitty just because of protests there."
The civil activists also demand that IIMC, IIM and IIT—sanctioned for Jammu—be established in the Valley.
During the controversy over setting up AIIMS in Kashmir, Leader of Opposition in RajyaSabha, GhulamNabi Azad, had written to Prime Minister NarendraModi seeking additional AIIMS for Jammu, and IIM and IIT for Kashmir.
"Keeping in view the overall political scenario of the State, geographical and climatic conditions, I would seek your personal indulgence to address the issue in an equitable and just manner by way of sanctioning one additional AIIMS for Jammu and an IIM and IIT for Kashmir," Azad wrote.
Senior PDP leader and MP Tariq Hamid Karra had asked mainstream and separatist parties, trade bodies and civil society to unite and seek IIT and IIM for Kashmir. "If Jammu deserves AIIMS, give them. But Kashmir also deserves IIM and IIT. Why deny Kashmir its rights. Why discrimination and injustice with Kashmir?" he had asked.
Lawmaker from Langate, Er. Rashid even staged protests here to press for the demand of establishing similar educational institutions in Kashmir.