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The Hindu
The Hindu
Jayanth R.

Medical college shifting row from Ramanagara takes legal turn

The proposal to shift the Kengal Hanumanthaiah Medical College from the proposed Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science (RGUHS) campus, Ramanagara to Kanakapura has taken a legal turn with the Kengal Hanumanthaiah Medical College Horata Samiti, and farmers who lost their land for the university campus filing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court of Karnataka. The PIL is yet to appear for hearing.

Amidst all these developments, Iqbal Hussain, MLA of Ramanagara constituency, has organised a “bhoomi pooja” programme of the RGUHS campus on September 28 and invited Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil, and other elected representatives for it. This is the fifth bhoomi pooja programme for the RGUHS campus construction work since 2007.

However, RGUHS has denied involvement. “Officially, we are not organising any bhoomi pooja programme for the construction work at the proposed campus of Ramanagara. We don’t know anything about the programme organized by the local MLA,” M.K. Ramesh, Vice Chancellor of RGUHS, clarified to The Hindu.

During the JDS-BJP alliance government in 2006-07, it was decided to shift the RGUHS campus to Ramanagara. The government was planning to establish a ‘health city’ along with the university campus on 215 acres of land.

The BJP government gave the administrative approval to the project at an estimated cost of ₹600 crore in November 2022 and laid the foundation stone on March 28, 2023.

But the new Congress government announced a government medical college for Kanakapura in the budget. Instead of sanctioning a new college to Kanakapura, the government decided to shift the proposed medical college to be constructed on RGUHS campus at Ramanagara in Kanakapura instead.

After this, there was outrage against the State government’s decision from sections that include former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, and other elected representatives from Ramanagara, and a Ramanagara bandh was successfully conducted on September 8.

Shivalingaiah, one of the PIL petitioners and the president of the Horata Samiti said, “Deputy Chief Minster D.K. Shivakumar and his brother D.K. Suresh, Member of Parliament (MP) are behind this medical college shifting conspiracy. The sanctioned medical college in the proposed RGUHS campus at Ramanagara should be established there only.”

A farmer who chose to be anonymous added, “We had given our agricultural land for the proposed RGUHS campus and health city. But now there are rumours that the government is planning to shift the super speciality hospital, dental, pharmacy, nursing colleges along with medical college from the RGUHS campus Ramanagara to Kanakapura. The government should establish all these colleges in the Ramanagara campus. Otherwise, we have asked in the PIL that the government should return our land.”

Iqubal Hussain, MLA of Ramanagara constituency defended his move: “During the assembly election time, the BJP government laid the foundation for the construction of RGUHS campus in Ramanagara. But the work has not started. We conducted a meeting with the contractor and officials and instructed them to start the work. So, the bhoomi pooja programme will be held on Thursday and then the construction work will be started. All the proposed buildings will be established in this campus only. There is no confusion.”

Sources pointed out that any move to shift the college will have to happen after amending the RGUHS Act.

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