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The Hindu
The Hindu
Jayanth R.

Shifting of proposed medical college from RGUHS campus, Ramanagara to Kanakapura kicks up controversy

The State government’s decision to set up a new government medical college at Kanakapura, which was earlier proposed to be constructed on the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Science (RGUHS) campus at Ramanagara, has kicked up a controversy.

There is outrage against the State government’s decision from sections that include former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, and elected representatives from Ramanagara, while there are calls for an indefinite strike, Ramanagara bandh, and other forms of agitation.

Speaking to The Hindu, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy questioned the need for a medical college in Kanakapura. “It is better if it is in the district headquarters, especially the RGUHS campus. Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway passes through the district headquarters. A medical college is essential for emergencies,” he said.

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. As per the project, 12 huge buildings, including the administration block, medical college, dental college, nursing college, 750 bed capacity super speciality hospital, boys’ and girls’ hostels, staff quarters and other buildings were proposed on the campus.

The main objective of the project was to provide health services to the people of Ramanagara, Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagara, and other neighbouring districts.

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. The RGUHS transferred ₹400 to the State government and the building construction work started.

Amidst all these developments, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced a government medical college in Kanakapura in his budget. However, instead of sanctioning a new college to Kanakapura, the Congress government has taken a decision to shift the proposed medical college to be constructed on RGUHS campus at Ramanagara in Kanakapura instead.

Sharan Prakash Patil, Minister for Medical Education, said, “This is a budget decision to shift the proposed medical college from RGUHS campus to Kanakapura. A preliminary discussion has been done in this regard and ground work to identify the land has started.”

However, Mr. Kumaraswamy argued, “I am the one who gave Rajiv Gandhi Medical University to Ramanagara. Then, ₹100 crore was earmarked separately and a medical college was sanctioned in Kanakapura. Then, the BJP government took it to Chikkaballapura. Now they are taking the proposed medical college in Ramanagara to Kanakapura. This is the contribution D.K. Shivakumar to Ramanagara and the people should understand. He does not want the district headquarters to be developed.”

Some residents too expressed opposition. Manjunath Raju, a resident of Ramanagara, said, “Ramanagara district has four taluks. If a medical college is set up in Ramanagara, it will benefit the people of all taluks and also it would be ideal considering the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway and the number of accidents reported everyday. Around eight kilometres away from Kanakapura town, there is a private medical college running successfully, and people of the taluk are utilising it.”

Narasimhamurthy, a member of ‘Kengal Hanumanthaiah Medical College Horata Samithi,’ which is fighting for the college in Ramanagara, said, “The Congress government is playing politics in the development works, without a medical college, there is no meaning for a medical university.”

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