Work on Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industry Ltd (RIL)’s world class Jio India University (JIU) is on at a war footing.
The senior corporate czar visited the plot with his son Akash and a twelve-member team last week. Located at a distance of barely 65 km from India’s financial capital, the university is spread across 700 acres of land on the outskirts of Mumbai in Karjat. The Ambanis flew down on their private chopper, where they took great interest in exploring every nook of the acquired land, even asking the attendants several questions.
Sources said that the Union Human Resource (HRD) Ministry has asked the Ambanis to have the new varsity up and running in the next three years.
“We got a total of 900 acres of land, of which 700 acres will be used for developing the varsity campus. We already possess most of the land and plans are in place to start work at the site immediately,” said the source requesting anonymity.
He added, “While the government might have asked us to start the university in the next three years, we are confident of completing the work within a year and a half itself. And we are planning on nothing but state of the art facilities.”
Another person privy to the development said hostels for students and residential quarters for the faculty will also come up at the site since it is so far from the city.
“Our emphasis will be on open spaces. A major chunk of land will be used for the landscaping and gardens. Instead towering tall buildings the university will be housed in a structure closer to nature. We want to develop JIU on the line of Atlanta and Cambridge with world class courses. Globally renowned resource persons from stellar institutions will be invited to teach as visiting faculty. We want to give the best to our students who will all be absorbed within Reliance industries.”
DNA spoke to Kiran Panghude, the Deputy Residential Collector of Raigad, as he is the planning and approval authority for any project in the region. He said: “The RIL officials had come for inquiries but they have not yet formally submitted any official plan for approval.”
It must be recalled that the University Grants Commission recent conferment of ‘Institution of Eminence’ award to the JIU had seen a barrage of criticism pushing both UGC and the HRD Ministry on the defensive.
Earlier, Mukesh Ambani had planned to develop his university at Ulwe, off Navi Mumbai (close to the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport), where he owns a 1,500-acre plot. However, perhaps in keeping with its prime location and high value, it was later decided to exploit this plot for commercial and residential use and JIU had to find a new home.
WHY NEW HOME?
Earlier, Mukesh Ambani had planned to develop his university at Ulwe, off Navi Mumbai, where he owns a 1,500-acre plot
However, perhaps in keeping with its prime location, it was later decided to exploit this plot for commercial and residential use