Bangalore: Faced with the prospect of losing Rs 600 crore worth of investments in the Azim Premji University (APU) near Sarjapura, the Siddaramaiah government has changed the land use classification of the area from the previous ‘industrial land’ to ‘public and semi-public land’. The revision allows for setting up of educational institutions. So work on the ‘tallest university in the world’, which had ground to a halt for some time, can now resume.
Plans are afoot to set up the permanent campus of APU on an 80-acre plot between Attibele and Sarjapura, under the jurisdiction of Anekal Area Planning Authority. The APU right now functions from PES Institute of Technology south campus, near Electronic City, nearly 10 km away from the proposed campus.
When it is ready, APU will boast of multiple, 49-storey towers set on a self-contained green campus with accommodation for staff and students; and provisions for entertainment, shopping, cinema, libraries, eateries, et al. The built-up area wouldn’t exceed 30% as the university wants to retain the charm of the countryside with its wide open spaces and water bodies. The space created would be around five million sq ft, which anticipates increase in courses and students in the next five years.
CAME OUT OF THE BLUE
The land purchase was completed and the designs finalised last year. And just when the university was about to apply for permissions, the Bangalore Metropolitan Region Development Authority (BMRDA) announced a master plan revision for the Anekal Planning Authority, thus putting a temporary ban on developments. “Everything came to a halt. We had to wait for the master plan to get published and see under which zone our land was identified,” a member of the APU management told Bangalore Mirror.
When it did come out, the draft master plan gave the university authorities a jolt — it identified the area as an industrial zone, which technically doesn’t allow for construction of educational institutions.
APU authorities then began a series of deliberations with the government. “The APU first filed their objections to the master plan within the 30-day window. The government took it seriously,” said a senior BMRDA officer.
In the revised master plan 2031 approved by the state last month, the area was identified for public and semi-public use, which allows educational institutions to come up. “For the last nine months, we did rounds of discussions with the government to modify the master plan. The officials were extremely accommodative and re-worked their plan. Now we can get going with the next phase,” the APU official said.
The construction will be carried out in phases. Initially about one million sq ft will be put up, which is estimated to cost around Rs 400 crore. The university authorities will now have to apply with the plan for various permissions and clearances. This includes land conversion approvals from the deputy commissioner, fire force department, Airports Authority of India and BIAL, Pollution Control Board, etc.