BENGALURU: Despite resistance from university authorities and a resolution passed in the highest bodies at the university, the state government has taken decision to construct a new campus for Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), Bengaluru, using university funds.
Express has a copy of the proceedings of the meeting chaired by the Chief Minister on October 7, 2015. It says, “The construction of the new campus for the RGUHS in Ramanagaram district should begin immediately.”
As per information made available by the Department of Medical Education, the matter will be placed before the next Cabinet meeting for approval. “As it is a big project worth crores, we need clearance from the cabinet. The same will be placed before the next Cabinet for approval,” an official source from the Medical Education Department said.
The estimation given by the officials of the Public Works Department for the construction of the new campus at Archakarahalli (Ramanagaram) is `580 crore. “PWD officials explained that the tender can be given to the same company which was shortlisted in 2007 and they have agreed to do the work as per the 2014-15 SR rates,” a source said.
“An Andhra Pradesh-based private construction company had won the bid at that time. The company has given an estimation of `580 crore, which includes `461.44 crore for construction of buildings and an additional `118.56 crore for works not mentioned in the original tender.”
But the university authorities, including the Vice-Chancellor and the registrar, who were present at the meeting, have rejected it. They told the ministers and officials present at the meeting, including the chief minister, that they wanted to go for Global Tender and that they cannot release the entire fund as it would be difficult for university to function in future.
Vice-Chancellor K S
Ravindranath said, “We have already explained to them about the decisions taken in syndicate and senate meetings. We have not yet taken a decision on this and we will wait for the Cabinet’s decision.”
However, as it is mentioned in the proceedings, the university authorities have brought to the notice of the Chief Minister and officials that it is better to start construction work only on 71 acres dedicated to the administrative buildings. In response to that, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar said, “The project got delayed due to legal issues all these years, and it should not be delayed further.”
Medical Education Minister Dr Sharan Prakash Patil brought it to the notice of the CM and university that financial assistance will not be given as per the old agreement. In the 2007 agreement, RGUHS had to provide `120 crore, the Union government would assist with `80 crore and the state government would provide financial assistance of `110 crore. But in the new proposal, there is no assistance from any external agencies and the entire burden is on the university.
“Of course the university has the money but that is all procured from our internal resources like examination fee. If we utilise that amount for the construction of medical college and hospital, how will we run the show?” a senior syndicate member asked.
“The university is an autonomous institution, government has no power to utilise university funds. If the government insists, we will challenge it in the court,” said another member of the syndicate.
Process Delayed Due to Objections
In 2007, when H D Kumaraswamy was chief minister, the process to start the construction of the new campus for RGUHS was almost complete, but with objections raised by farmers over land compensation, the process was stalled for eight years.
The farmers approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s order on compensation. Now the Supreme Court has cleared the petition by upholding the High Court order.