A day after the Karnataka Legislative Assembly adopted the Chanakya University Bill, 2021, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah urged the government not to ‘divert’ hundreds of acres of industrial land at a very low rate for the establishment of a private university to drive an ‘RSS agenda’.
Addressing mediapersons along with KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar, he expressed outrage over the government’s decision and warned of legal action.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the BJP government had hastily passed the Bill relating to establishment of Chanakya University despite opposition to the proposal. He alleged that everyone who was part of the university is close to the RSS, and the university is aimed at driving a ‘Manuvadi agenda’.
He claimed that those who are part of this organisation have not run any educational institute, nor do they have the infrastructure to start a university. “The State government should make clear the qualifications and basis on which the university has been given land,” he said.
In April this year, the Karnataka government allotted 116 acres in Devanahalli taluk to Centre for Educational and Social Studies (CESS) at a cost of ₹50 crore to establish a university. Mr. Siddaramaiah claimed that the value of this industrial land (acquired by Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board) is at least ₹300 crores. He termed providing KIADB land ‘at such a low price’ a big scam. The government had paid compensation of ₹175 crore to farmers to acquire the land, he claimed.
The former chief minister said, “I requested the Speaker for a debate multiple time, but he did not listen to me. What was the need for the Bill to be ratified without a debate? Is this a matter of public urgency?”
Mr. Shivakumar said it was inappropriate to give land meant for industrial use to set up a university. He pointed out that the land was acquired for aerospace industries.