Dean says Rs. 4 crore allocated will end up in maintenance

With crumbling roads, moss-ridden buildings, leaking rooftops, and knee-high weeds on the lawns, the College of Fisheries has gone back a few steps since it was accorded a premier institute status more than four decades ago.

To address these issues, the college was allocated Rs. 4 crore in the budget announced by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in July. However, the college is yet to receive the money.

“It is a long process. We have sent estimates to the Finance Ministry, and have been answering clarifications so far. It’ll take more time,” said K.M. Shankar, Dean of the college, who added that most of the money would be used to upgrade the poor infrastructure on the campus.

Set up in 1969, the dean said, the college was the first of its kind in the country. “For the next decade, it received a lot of attention from the State and the Centre. And then, the funds started to dwindle and the college infrastructure deteriorated,” he said.

Though the college has secured more than Rs. 16.5 crore in research grants from national and foreign institutions, the amount given by the State government for maintenance is less than Rs. 10 lakh yearly.

Even when the additional Rs. 4 crore funds do pour in, it may not be enough to change the landscape of the college. “We had asked for Rs. 10 crore, and they had agreed. However, because of Anna Bhagya and other schemes, our funding was cut,” said Mr. Shankar.

According to the estimates submitted to the government, Rs. 2 crore would be spend on road repair and rooftop repair on the Yekkur campus, Rs. 1 crore on maintenance of the technology wing at Hoige Bazaar, and just Rs. 1 crore to construct a two-storied building that would have an examination hall, farmer extension centre, museum and an aquarium. “The money they are giving is very less. We’ll see how much we can do with it. The priority is maintenance, especially of leaking roofs,” said Mr. Shankar.

While the funds will cover only immediate maintenance, the college will ask for more money next year. “We have plans to start pharmacology or toxicology course, which are important for fish rearing. We will request for funds for the infrastructure needed,” said the Dean.