Kota Srinivas Poojary, Minister for Ports and Muzrai, said on Monday that the former Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs was more of a social reformer. He was speaking at a function to mark the 97th birth anniversary of Devaraj Urs organised by the district administration and the zilla panchayat in Udipi.
Mr. Poojary said that the Land Reforms Act implemented by Urs (1915-1982) had made a large number of farmers, owners of agricultural land which they tilled. Land reforms had brought in a silent social revolution in the State. The Act was implemented in a systematic and peaceful manner. “The Land Reforms Act was the greatest achievement of Urs,” he said.
Stating that Urs was a well-read person with many reformist ideas, Mr. Poojary said he was an able administrator. He set up L.G. Havanur Backward Classes Commission to study the condition of backward classes. He was instrumental in renaming Mysore State as Karnataka.
Mr. Poojary recalled that Urs had told his MLAs not to indulge in politics on vital issues such as road connectivity, drinking water and medical aid to people.
Quoting senior journalist Vaddarse Raghuram Shetty, Mr. Poojary said that when Urs lost power as Chief Minister, Shetty had gone to see him in his house.
Urs was found in the cowshed of his house washing a buffalo. “This shows how simple Urs was,” the Minister said.
The Government had allocated Rs. 1 crore each for the construction of a community hall for the Kudubi community and the Konkani Kharvi community in the district.
“It is only when welfare measures reach the last man in society, social justice in its true sense can be said to have been achieved,” Mr. Poojary said. Delivering the keynote address, Uday Shetty, assistant professor, Government First Grade College, Hiriyadka, said that Urs was a grassroots politician, who rose from the position of president of a gram panchayat to that of Chief Minister. He had a thorough grasp of rural issues and was a consensus builder. He was instrumental in making use of Kannada compulsory in government offices. He also constructed many backward classes and minorities (BCM) hostels, which helped students from rural areas to live and study in cities.
As a politician, Urs proved his mettle by getting the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi elected from Chikmagalur constituency in the byelection to the Lok Sabha in 1978, Mr. Shetty said.
Raghupati Bhat, MLA, Additional Deputy Commissioner Kumar, president of the Udupi Taluk Panchayat Devadas Hebbar, and vice-president of the zilla panchayat Jyoti Shetty were present.
Mangalore staff correspondent writers: Mr. Poojary said that the State government was renovating 25,000 temples which would be converted into places where people from different religions could come and offer prayers.
Speaking at a function to mark the 97 birth anniversary of the former Chief Minister Devaraj Urs in Mangalore, Mr. Poojary said: “Ninety per cent of these temples are in backward areas. We want to renovate these temples and turn them into places where everybody can go and offer prayers,” he said. “Certainly this (work) is not the kind of work that Devaraj Urs did. But it certainly goes a long way in creation of temples that society needs,” he said.
Mr. Poojary recalled the contribution of Urs to the development of the State.