Higher Ed Dept says it didn’t moot VTU split

Last Updated 15 February 2019, 10:21 IST

The burgeoning controversy surrounding the bifurcation of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) as announced in the Budget took a new twist on Thursday with the higher education minister revealing that they had never submitted any formal proposal to the state government on splitting the university.

Sources in the state government also pointed out that setting up a new technical university in Hassan was the idea of PWD Minister H D Revanna.

Clarifying on the government stand, Higher Education Minister G T Devegowda told DH that neither he nor his department had made any formal request to the government.

Amid mounting pressure on the government to drop plans of splitting the university, G T Devegowda said, “We (higher education department) have not submitted any request or proposal either to split the existing university or set up a new one. In fact, we have no such ideas currently.”

In the absence of a formal request or proposal by the higher education department, how did the idea of setting up a new technical university originate? According to sources in JD(S), the person behind the announcement was Public Works Minister H D Revanna who was keen on setting up a technical university in Hassan — the home turf of Gowda family. A source in the government said, “It was the dream of Revanna to set up a technical university in the name of his father and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda who came up from a humble technical background as a civil engineer.”

The JD(S) leader said Revanna had casually mentioned this to higher education department officials during the preparation of the Budget.

Meanwhile, MLA from Belagavi South Abhay Patil claimed to have got an assurance from Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy that VTU will not be bifurcated. Patil, along with MLA from Belagavi North Anil Benke, met Kumaraswamy and submitted a memorandum inked by more than 50 MLAs opposing the idea of splitting the VTU. “The chief minister told us that the government will not bifurcate VTU and instead only a regional centre of VTU will be set up in Hassan considering the geographical location,” Patil clarified.

(Published 14 February 2019, 19:27 IST)

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