Funds not for auditorium on college ground, says govt

Funds not for auditorium on college ground, says govt

Kannada & Culture Dept clarifies in row on amphitheatre mooted by actor Bhavana

Higher Education Minister G T Deve Gowda

Putting to rest speculation over the construction of an open-air auditorium at the Government Arts College playground, Vishu Kumar, director, Kannada and Culture Department clarified that funds were released for cultural programmes but not for building an auditorium. Hoovu, an art foundation, owned by actor-turned-politician Bhavana Ramanna started work on the construction of the auditorium, which was stopped after it was opposed by the faculty and students.

“Initially, they sought funds for building the auditorium. We told them that there is no such provision in the department, and also said that the land belongs to the Government Arts College and they don’t have any right over it. Later, they submitted a proposal for funds to organise a cultural programme, for which we sanctioned Rs 60 lakh. But we have clearly mentioned that it should be utilised for the cultural programme and not for any construction,” Vishu Kumar told DH.

Higher Education Minister G T Deve Gowda has ordered an inquiry against art foundation for allegedly trespassing on government land. Students of the Government Arts College submitted a memorandum to the minister and urged him to save their only play area from getting commercialised.

“The minister has ordered Rajkumar Khatri, principal secretary, higher education to submit a detailed report on the issue by this week. After this, they will take appropriate legal action against the foundation. The preliminary inquiry has shown that the work was undertaken without any approval from the state government,” said a senior official in the higher education department.

Commenting on the row, Bhavana said, “I got the approval from the government for the project. Kannada and Culture Department is also releasing funds for the project. Without proper approval, how can the government body release the money? I will take legal opinion regarding this issue.”

College files complaint

Bhavana had filed a police complaint against the college authorities alleging that the faculty threatened to demolish the structure. However, a counter complaint was filed by the college authorities, last week, accusing the actress of trespass. “The police had asked the art foundation to produce supporting documents for the project. But none of the representatives of the foundation has turned up till now. We have now requested the police to take severe action against the members of art foundation for trying to tarnish the image of the college and faculty by filing a false police complaint,” Malleshwarappa, principal, Government Arts College and director of the collegiate education department, said.


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