They will get special grant of Rs. 100 crore each for upgrading basic infrastructure

The State government has approved the formation of three more city corporations — Tumkur, Bijapur and Shimoga.

This raises the total number of city corporations in the State to 11.

A meeting of the State Cabinet here on Thursday approved the upgrade of the existing city municipal councils in these three tier II cities.

They will now be provided a special grant of Rs. 100 crore each for upgrading basic infrastructure, including roads.

Briefing presspersons on the decisions taken at the meeting, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra said the present elected members of the city municipal councils in the three cities would continue and the incumbent president and vice-president would be designated Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

This would be for not more than six months as elections to the municipal councils were held only about six months ago.

The upgrading has been approved as the three cities have a population of more than five lakh.

The other city municipal corporations in the State are Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Davangere, Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad, Gulbarga and Bellary.

Article 371(J)

Sources in the government told The Hindu that the Cabinet also informally discussed the reservations to be provided for the people of the Hyderabad Karnataka districts as specified under Article 371(J) of the Constitution. The matter has been pending for quite some time and after the meeting, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah took it up with senior Ministers, Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar.

Sources added that the view is that the recommendations of a Cabinet subcommittee may attract litigation if implemented in toto. The Cabinet subcommittee has reportedly suggested reservations for people from the Hyderabad Karnataka districts in other parts of the State too. The aim of the constitutional amendment is primarily to serve the backward districts of Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal and Bellary.

Medical colleges policy

The Cabinet, at the meeting, also approved the need for formulating a policy for sanctioning new medical colleges in the State. The government has been receiving applications for starting new medical colleges, but most wanted to set up the institutions in Bangalore.

A cabinet subcommittee was constituted about a week ago under the chairmanship of Minister for Higher Education R.V. Deshpande to screen these applications. It was noticed that all the applications received so far were ineligible with some of them not even having basic infrastructure to start a medical college, let alone an attached teaching hospital.

Meanwhile, the government is also expected to pull up the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences for recommending the applications without proper scrutiny.

Scheme for OBCs

Mr. Jayachandra said the Cabinet also approved granting subsidy of not more than Rs. 2 lakh each to 2,000 members of Other Backward Classes to purchase taxis. This is similar to the scheme for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and will cost the government Rs. 40 crore.

The Cabinet also approved starting two Morarji Desai residential schools at Kadur and Mudigere in Chikmagalur district.