Govt, varsity in fix over Kharge's demand for land

30 more acres sought for Rs 900-crore project

Union Labour and Employment Secretary P C Chaturvedi, in a letter to the vice-chancellor, has sought 30 acres on the Jnana Ganga campus in addition to the 30 acres already handed over to the ministry for the construction of the Medical Education Complex. The foundation stone was laid in May last for the project.

The University, reluctant to part with the land, was forced to fall in line by the State Government and now, the demand for more land would further shrink the campus area which the varsity wishes to reserve for its future needs.

The Government, in a bid to oblige the Union Labour Minister, overruled the Syndicate’s decision against giving 30 acres for the construction of the Complex proposed to include a medical college, dental college, nursing college and a superspeciality hospital. The University as a matter of principle, was not interested in giving the land as it will not benefit the varsity in any way.

It had emphatically turned down the demand for 30 acres for construction of the Gulbarga Circuit Bench of the Karnataka High Court and the State government had also supported its contention. Consequently, the State had to look out for an alternative and the circuit bench came up finally on the land owned by the Karnataka Housing Board.
The University sources had maintained that as it had lost considerable land without any monetary or other benefit, it was not prepared to part with more land.

Ironically,  the varsity has been forced to give away 30 acres free of cost even though at one stage the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) was prepared to pay for the land. But Kharge made it clear that the State should give the land free of cost as has been done in other states for construction of the ESIC hospitals.

Kharge, insisting for additional land, said he had earlier thought of only Rs 200-crore medical college and hospital project for which 30 acres was sought. But subsequently the plan was changed into Rs 900-crore mega project requiring at least 15 more acres. Another 15 acres is for the SDC proposed to enhance skills of the youth in various vocations to suit the needs of industry and self-employment.

Though the State and the district administration are ready to allot 15 acres of land for SDC somewhere outside the University as per the commitment of Medical Education Minister Ramachandra Gowda who had openly declared at the foundation-laying ceremony of the ESIC Complex that the land would be allotted shortly. Accordingly the Revenue authorities are looking out for suitable land.

But Kharge’s revised vociferous demand for the land within the varsity campus has put the State on the backfoot lest the former castigated the BJP Government of non-cooperation for the Centre’s project.

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