KARNATAKA

Function for work on Bidar medical college building put off Aircraft carrying Chief Minister forced to return

Staff Correspondent

BIDAR: Saturday's function to lay the foundation stone for the Bidar government medical college building was postponed as a chartered plane carrying the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, and other Ministers could not land at the Bidar Air Force Station base because of bad weather.

The chartered plane, of the VTTVS company, carrying Mr. Singh; the Deputy Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah; the Water Resources Minister, M. Mallikarjun Kharge; and the Medical Education Minister, Iqbal Ansari, returned to Bangalore.

Officials said the aircraft took off from Bangalore at 9.15 a.m. and the pilot sought clearance to land in Bidar at 10.15 a.m. But clearance was refused because of rain and gale, and low clouds which reduced visibility.

"With VIPs on board, we did not take risks," a senior officer said. The venue of the function had been shifted to the Rang Mandir from the Government Polytechnic College grounds because of rain. A large number of people waited in the rain for nearly three hours for the function to begin.

Police had made elaborate security arrangements in the wake of a threat of a naxalite attack on the venue. Two companies of the District Armed Reserve and the Karnataka State Reserve Police each had been deployed in

addition to police personnel from Gulbarga. Metal detectors were installed at four entries to the venue.

The stage was prepared according to the Special Protection Group norms.

The Minister for Forest and Minister in charge of Bidar district, Gurupadappa Nagamarpalli, told presspersons that the postponement of the function does not mean that commencement of work on the college building will be delayed. "Mr. Singh called me up and told me to go ahead with the construction. We will complete it fast as per his instructions. It rained when Mr. Singh was flying over Bidar. It is not a bad omen after all," he said.

Mr. Nagamarpalli reiterated his promise to ensure that the college is opened this academic year.

He said Mr. Ansari's statement that only three colleges will be opened this year is not based on facts.

"We will start all colleges this year. This is a challenge. We will file a compliance report to the Union Government in response to the Medical Council of India's inspection report on Wednesday," he added.

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