Special Correspondent

To approach Supreme Court for relief

Campus sits on land leased from Forest Department

Lease renewal fee hiked from Rs. 8 cr. to Rs. 40 cr.

SHIMOGA: Kuvempu University has decided to approach the Supreme Court seeking exemption from paying a huge amount to the Forest Department for renewal of lease for the forest land on which the university campus is situated at Shankaraghatta, which forms a part of the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary.

The university was allotted 230 acres of forest land when it was established in 1987 on a renewable 20-year lease. With the first 20-year lease having expired in 2007, the university sought to renew the lease.

However, the Forest Department has increased the renewal fee from the initial Rs. 8 crore to Rs. 40 crore leaving the university with no option but to seek the Supreme Court’s intervention.

Vice-Chancellor B.S. Sherigara on Monday told presspersons at Jnana Sahyadri, the university campus, which is about 28 km from here, that the university would have to go to court because the State Government was helpless in the matter.

When the university was already in a difficult financial position, it could not afford to pay an exorbitant fee to the Forest Department for renewal of the lease.

Prof. Sherigara said the university was trying its best to recover a portion of land around the Sahyadri College complex in Shimoga city that had been encroached upon.

Work on landscaping and beautification of the Jnana Sahyadri campus was progressing.

The coffee plants on ten acres of the campus as part of the landscaping project had to be removed because of an objection from the Forest Department, he said.