Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani Saturday laid the foundation stone for the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Gambheeram village near this coastal city in Andhra Pradesh. To come up on nearly 400 acres of land, IIM-Visakhapatnam is the first of the 11 institutes sanctioned by the central government for Andhra Pradesh under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act.
The institute is expected to start functioning by June and classes are likely to begin from the next academic year. Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapati Raju, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and many state ministers, parliamentarians and other public representatives attended the ceremony. Irani said that by setting up the prestigious institute, the government was trying to fulfill the dreams of the youth of Andhra Pradesh.
She said prestigious institutes like IITs, IIMs and NITs were offering online open courses free of cost to all citizens who seek education. Venkaiah Naidu assured the state that the central government would extend all help in setting up the institutes. He said that with inherent knowledge, skills and strengths, Andhra Pradesh had the potential to become the knowledge hub of India.
Describing Visakhapatnam as the best place in the country, Chandrababu Naidu said his government aimed to develop the place as a world-class city. He said a memorandum of understanding would be signed soon to develop the coastal city as a smart city. Chandrababu Naidu suggested that IIM-Visakhapatnam should introduce innovative courses in logistics, development and marine studies. The chief minister said the city would soon have a Sarala Birla Academy and a campus of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS).
Stating that the state was already ahead in higher education, Chandrababu Naidu said it would get more institutes like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), a central university and a tribal university. Earlier, an intervention by the chief minister Friday ensured that the foundation stone is not put off again. More than 170 farmers refused to part with the land, saying they had been cultivating it for decades. They withdrew the protest after Chandrababu Naidu promised a special package for them. The foundation stone was earlier scheduled to be laid Jan 5 but was postponed due to the protest. (IANS)