‘It is aimed at benefitting a college linked to a Minister'

Congress councillors staged a vociferous protest at a meeting of the Mangalore City Corporation Council here on Friday against the move aimed at benefitting a college linked to a Minister by scuttling a proposal to widen a road.

The issue revolves around the Vikas College of Physiotherapy at Mary Hill which is run by Vikas Education Trust. The college website says that District in-charge Minister J. Krishna Palemar is a member of the trust's governing council.

The councillors did not name the Minister but said that there was a move to ensure that a road passing by the college was not widened contrary to what was envisioned in the revised Master Plan for the city's development for 10 years. The width envisaged is 80 ft.

They said a resolution had been passed by the Mangalore Urban Development Authority (MUDA) to retain the road at its current width. A copy of the resolution circulated to the media, put the current width of the road from Mary Hill to Padavinangady at 6.5 m (21 ft) to 9 m (30 ft). It said a request for retaining the width came from the president of the trust.

Congress councillor Deepak Pujary, who raised the issue, alleged that it was a conspiracy to benefit someone. Councillor Shashidhar Hegde of the Congress said this showed that MUDA favoured the rich builders and described the move as meaningless and condemnable. Councillor Mariamma Thomas said MUDA acted in a whimsical manner.

Councillors from the ruling BJP defended the MUDA action saying there was no need for an 80-foot wide road near the college.

There was another 80-foot road on the other side of the college, they said.

The Congress councillors staged a protest seeking an answer to the issue. Subsequently, the Mayor adjourned the meeting. MUDA official G. Venugopal said the issue had not come to his notice.

However, the resolution would be brought to the notice of people through newspaper advertisements and objections would be considered before its implementation, he added.

Mr. Palemar told The Hindu that he or the college had nothing to lose if the road was widened. He would allow widening of the road if he was convinced that there was a need to widen it. With the MUDA resolution, an aberration was being corrected, he said.

There were only a few houses along the road and there was no need for an 80-foot road, he said.

Resolution

Later, the corporation council resolved to rename the circle in front Circuit House as “Parashuram Circle.”

It passed a resolution backing the Mayor's action of granting permission to a proposal to supply 18 million litres of water per day to Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers and Udupi Power Corporation (Panambur Unit), among others. It referred a matter regarding renaming the Clock Tower Circle as Swami Vivekananda Circle to a standing committee.

More In: Mangaluru