Ambanis' Jio University that got embroiled in the Institute of Eminence controversy even before its inception is facing another hurdle. According to people in the know, Jio University may have to relocate its yet-to-start campus from the proposed 800-acre site in Karjat, Maharshtra. This move comes as the Karjat location is too close to the Matheran Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) of the Western Ghats due to which construction in that area is strictly regulated to ensure protection of the sensitive zone.
According to sources, the new location is now likely to be in Navi Mumbai special economic zone (SEZ) where Reliance already owns land, as mentioned in a report in The Economic Times.
However, N Gopalaswami, Chairman of the empowered expert committee (EEC) that declared Jio University as an Institute of Eminence said that the committee has not been informed of any change in location, as mentioned in the daily.
Land availability and location were among the factors that fetched the IoE tag for Jio University even before its existence. In another case, the EEC had rejected Vedanta's bid for the IoE on the premise that the university campus was caught up in litigation.
However, a Reliance spokesperson told the daily that the Jio University is progressing as planned.
The plan to change the location may have emerged after the EEC meeting held on September 26 to review the initial stages of progress by the six institutes. During the meeting, Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani had said that his team had conducted onsite review for infrastructure steps and priorities at the location.
Reliance had also told the ECC that it would appoint agencies for campus development in the October-December quarter and start construction between January and June 2019. However, as mentioned in the report, no approval has been sought for the construction at the Karjat site by Reliance.
(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)