Centre Looking For IIM Sites In Kashmir

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NEW DELHI: Amid unrest in Kashmir, the Centre is making arrangements for setting up an off-campus of Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in the Valley, in a bid to woo youth towards quality education.

Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar Wednesday announced that a team from his ministry will next week visit the Valley to conduct a site-survey for the planned campus.

Off-campuses are extension of the main campus. An IIM in Jammu is already operational in a temporary campus.

The HRD Minister said the process for a permanent campus in Jammu will also be expedited.

“The Jammu and Kashmir government has offered a land plot for the off-campus and within a week, a site-survey team will visit there and the work will be started there soon,” he said.

The Cabinet had last October approved setting up of an IIM campus in Jammu and an off-campus in Kashmir.

Two engineering colleges– in Safapora in Kashmir and Kathua in Jammu– and seven hostels for girl students, have also been approved by the HRD ministry.

He said the two colleges sanctioned under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan will start functioning this year itself.

“Rs 25 crore of the sanctioned Rs 52 crore (for RUSA colleges) will be released immediately for the purpose.”

The two colleges will be functioning out of temporary campuses till permanent campuses are set up– which is likely to take around two years.

Javadekar made the announcements after his hour-long meeting with J&K Education Minister Altaf Bukhari and his junior minister Priya Sethi here.

He also said, polytechnic diploma holders, taking lateral entry in engineering courses, will now be eligible for Prime Minister Scholarship for Jammu and Kashmir students.

He said the Ministry will also consider the state government’s request for raising the upper income limit for the scholarship eligibility- which is currently Rs 6 lakh.

During the meeting, the Minister also approved disbursal of Rs 200 crore for payment of pending salaries of teachers under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). Rs 34 crore was approved under the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan also.

The seven hostels for girl students of government degree colleges will be set up in Bemina, Kupwara, Pulwama, Kargil, Rajouri, Thathri and Palora and amount of Rs 50 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose.

Asked about the unrest, Javadekar said, “The state ministers are going in schools and colleges and communicating with students. Even when schools remained closed for four days, on the fifth day, they reopened and things went back to normal”.

“Over 98 per cent student-attendance in the board examination reiterated the state residents’ seriousness about education,” he added.

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