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No political will, Amritsar mega projects in limbo 

Amritsar: Various Central government-sponsored mega projects conceptualised for Amritsar have been in limbo for want of political will.Residents feel if these keenly awaited projects — Indian Institute of Management (IIM), railway line between Patti (Amritsar) and Makhu (Ferozepur), Software Technology Park of India — been completed, it would have given an impetus to the economy of the region and created employment opportunities in the border belt.With Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh skipping the all-party MPs’ meeting scheduled for today, Rajya Sabha MP Shwait Malik said all hopes to convince the Chief Minister about completing the stalled projects had been dashed. “It was disheartening to see the Chief Minister adopting a casual approach. Like other MPs, I was also prepared to raise the issue of certain mega projects suffering a setback in Amritsar because of non-cooperative attitude of the state government. The Centre’s funds are lying unutilised,” he said.Punjab’s first IIM, awarded to Amritsar, failed to have its own campus even after the lapse of over two years. After much hiccups, the 61-acre land on the Amritsar-Jalandhar road at Manawala (between Rakhcheeta and Nijjarpura) was acquired during the SAD-BJP regime in 2015. The possession of the 60 acres at Manawala village, for the 15th IIM, was handed over to the IIM Society on June 18, 2016.Presently, when the Detailed Project Report (DPR) was finalised by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the 3.5-km boundary wall is underway, it has been revealed that the change of land use (CLU) certification has not been obtained yet. Another hiccup is that an acre of land could not be acquired yet from a farmer.Malik said the tentative cost of the IIM campus was estimated to be Rs 671 crore. The Central government had sanctioned Rs 26.82 crore till date. Out of this Rs 15 crore had been utilised, but Rs 11.81 crore was lying unused.The construction of the 25.47-km Ferozepur-Patti rail link, approved by then Railway Minister Pawan Kamar Bansal in the 2013 Rail Budget, could not be started for want of land, which is also a state subject. “The small chunk of land that needs to be acquired will cost only Rs 40 crore. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 297 crore for the project in the 2017-18 Budget, but the money could not be utilised,” he said.Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Parsad had laid the foundation stone of the Software Technology Park of India (STPI) here but the project has not seen any progress on the ground till date.On 19 June, 2014, the Centre, in its plans to refurbish major cities on modern lines, had agreed to develop Amritsar as a ‘Smart City’. As a large number of devotees visit the holy city daily to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir, besides offering tributes to martyrs at the Jallianwala Bagh memorial, it is the need of the hour to ensure ultramodern facilities for this historic city on the concept of Smart Cities. But the project is yet to be kicked off as the state government could not spare its share of funds.

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