BELAGAVI: The to bifurcate the () in the state by chief minister HD has again brought regional imbalance to the fore.
Senior Congress leader Basavaraj Rayareddy, former higher education minister, said the proposal is an insult to North Karnataka which cannot be tolerated. He hoped a coordination committee, headed by Siddaramaiah, won’t allow this proposal to be passed.

“During the recent legislature session, Kumaraswamy stayed in the VTU guesthouse and perhaps then he may have thought about having a similar one in his hometown,” he said.

Rayareddy said before he became a higher education minister in the previous Congress government, the income-tax department had seized Rs 440 crore of VTU. “Then CM Siddaramaiah, minister RV Deshpande and I had tried their best to bring back that money. Now, VTU has won the case in the I-T tribunal and shortly, VTU will get Rs 470 crore and interest. If allowed, the money will go to Hassan to construct a new university which is not necessary and a waste of public money. My intention was to develop infrastructure in the government engineering college,” he said.

According to Rayareddy, the government had formed committee under S A Kori, executive director of Karnataka Higher Education Council and VTU registrar Jagannath Reddy to get the opinion on bifurcating VTU. According to his sources, the committee opposed the proposal. “I asked higher education minister GT Devegowda. He’s also not interested in but said he’s helpless,” Rayareddy said.

“There is nothing wrong in developing one’s home district. But it shouldn’t hurt the sentiments of others,” Rayareddy said.

He asked: “Why shouldn’t the CM bifurcate the agriculture university in Mysuru and establish one in Hasan?”

He said VTU will shut within five years if bifurcated. According to UGC norms, a university should have at least 200 colleges to sustain financially. Rayareddy said the CM should remove the paragraph from the budget copy. “I’m asking this not by helplessness but humility,” Rayareddy said.

All five vice-chancellors at VTU so far are from Old Mysuru region. “As the higher education minister, I had proposed a new comprehensive Act, including addressing regional balance and social justice, which is yet to be passed. If that’s passed, there are chances of VTU getting a V-C from North Karnataka region,” he added.

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