M A I N   N E W S

ISB gets land at Re 1 an acre at Mohali
Market value of land estimated at Re 1.50 cr per acre
Ruchika M Khanna & Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 11
The cash-strapped Punjab government has subsidised the entry of one of the richest business schools in the world, giving it 70 acres of prime land for a mere Re 1 an acre in Mohali for 99 years.

The Indian School of Business (ISB), run by some of the top-notch business houses, is setting up its second campus in the country.

While the state government earns virtually nothing from the project, ISB will be taking in 200 students a year and would charge Rs 17.50 lakh per student as the annual fee. The government has reportedly acquired the land at Rs 63 lakh an acre. In commercial terms, the value of the land is estimated at Rs 1.50 crore per acre.

Abutting the Knowledge City (sector 81) is the land that the government had acquired for its much touted Aerocity project at a whopping Rs 1.50 crore per acre. In order to recover this high land cost, the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) went all out to sell a housing project scheme that is oversubscribed by about 75 times.

With several original land owners seeking legal recourse, it would not be surprising if the government ends up paying an enhancement cost on this land from its pocket.

ISB is promoted by Bharti Enterprises, Punj Llyod, Max India and Hero Honda Motors Ltd. All four business houses have promised to put in Rs 50 crore each to set up the business school. At the foundation stone laying ceremony of the ISB, Mohali here today, the promoters - Analjit Singh and Sunil Kant Munjal - refused to be drawn in any controversy over the almost free allotment of land worth crores to them. “The land has been allotted at a nominal rate because it is a corporate social responsibility initiative on our part. We are not going to make any profit through this business school, but are investing Rs 200 crore for this project,” said Munjal.

The promoters also said they proposed to reserve certain percentage of seats in ISB for meritorious students belonging to economically weaker sections - thus justifying the government’s largesse. They also said they would also have to pay other charges as per the terms and conditions agreed upon with the Punjab Government.

Punjab government officials informed The Tribune that nothing out of the ordinary was being done for ISB. The land was acquired by the GMADA in 2004-05 and was then handed over to the Department of Higher Education of the state and various ministries of the Government of India. Most of the other institutes coming up in the Knowledge City, including the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research; Biotech Park; National Agrifood Biotechnology Institute; Nano Science Institute are government projects and have also been allotted land at Re 1 per acre.





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