Bowing to the opposition from academicians, writers and Opposition parties, Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa on Thursday decided against transferring land from the Hampi Kannada University to the Vijayanagara Revival Trust for developing a park and also setting up a research centre on erstwhile Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraya.
Earlier, the State government had decided to handover about 80 acres of land belonging to the Hampi Kannada University to the above trust.
“I will not allow even an acre of land from the University to be given to the Trust,” the Chief Minister told the Legislative Council during the discussion on the State budget.
“I will not take any steps which will hurt the feelings of people,” Mr. Yeddyurappa said and noted that the above theme park and research centre would now come up on a land belonging to the Tourism Department. “If there is any need for additional land, then steps would be taken to acquire the adjacent lands. But we will not take land from the University,” he said.
He said the Tourism department would develop the park as well as the research centre as a tourist spot. Referring to the opposition from various quarters to transfer of University land, he said: “There was no selfish motive behind the project.”
Expressing concern that the visitors to the historical Hampi monument were only getting to see the ruins of an ancient empire, Mr. Yeddyurappa said there was a dire need to create a monument which reflects the glory of Vijayanagar empire. “Whatever we are going to create will be remembered for more than thousand years,” he remarked.
Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy said the proposed monument would have a park developed on the lines of Lalbagh Botanical gardens, a research centre on Krishnadevaraya and a statue of this king.
However, the Opposition members raised objections about the nature of the Vijayanagara Revival Trust. Janata Dal (S) member Y. S. V. Datta said contrary to the claims by the chief minister that it is a government trust, only 10 members were holding government positions in this 21-member trust. Of these 10 members, three were MLAs, two were MLCs and five were government officials. But the legislators appointment was not based on their positions and they would continue as members of the trust for a life turn even if they were not legislators.
He also expressed concern that the Trust had BJP leader Ananth Kumar’s wife Tejasvini Ananth Kumar and two businessmen from Hospet as its members. Besides, the bylaw of the Trust had made it clear that 50 per cent of members’ support was enough to change its constitution. This would indicate that the government does not have control over the Trust as the non official members, who number up to more than 50 per cent, could change the rules and regulation, he said.
Responding to this, the chief minister only said that the trust’s members were honest and that the monument would be ready within a year. “I will take all of you to the monument after it is developed. After seeing it, you will really thank me,” he remarked.
The decision to transfer University land to the above trust had earned the wrath of writers, University staff and Opposition parties. Governor H. R. Bhardwaj too had sought an explanation from the vice-chancellor on such a move while a senior faculty member of the University had quit to protest the move.