KARNATAKA

Will Bidar get veterinary varsity?

BIDAR Oct 5. The people of Bidar District are agitated over the issue of establishing a University of Veterinary Sciences here.

In the wake of the recommendation made by the High-Power Committee for Redressal of Regional Imbalances headed by D.M. Nanjundappa to set up a University of Veterinary Sciences here, the question that is being asked is whether the Government will show the political will required to act on the recommendation.

The committee has suggested that the university be set up in Bidar, where there is already one veterinary college, with an investment of Rs. 30 crore.

Unlike the agricultural sector, where there is a flow of information from the agricultural universities or colleges to farmers, there is no such flow of information to the animal husbandry sector. As India has become a leader in milk production, the need to conduct extensive research and evolve new breeds of cattle is increasing.

Karnataka is the sixth largest producer of milk in the country. Besides dairy farming, poultry, pig rearing, fisheries, etc., have opened up new vistas and are providing employment to unemployed youths. All these areas will receive a boost if a University of Veterinary Sciences is set up in the State.

The demand for establishing a university in the State on the lines of the ones in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and West Bengal has been pending for a long time. The previous Janata Dal government led by the late J.H. Patel was very keen on setting up the university. It sent a team to Chennai to study the functioning of the veterinary sciences university there. Although the Government then did the spadework, it failed to give it a concrete shape as the Cabinet failed to approve the establishment of the university.

The new university is proposed to be carved out of the existing universities of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore and Dharwad. There are only two veterinary colleges in the State, in Bidar and Bangalore. While the college in Bangalore comes under the UAS, Bangalore, the one here comes under the UAS, Dharwad. Apart these two colleges, the College of Dairy Sciences in Bangalore and the Fisheries College in Mangalore are to be brought under the purview of the proposed university.

The State stands to gain by setting up the new university. Apart from the funds allocated for it in the budget, the university will be eligible for funding from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Union Government, and other agencies. At present, the veterinary colleges depend mainly upon their respective universities for funds.

The Patel government initiated the preliminary work for establishing the university in Bidar by asking the Director of the Veterinary College here to submit a report on the infrastructure available.

According to the report, the Bidar college has 153 acres of land. It has 17 departments with a well-equipped veterinary hospital complex. Apart from B.V.Sc. and postgraduate courses, the college offers Ph.D. programmes in Animal Reproduction, Gynaecology, and Obstetrics, Veterinary Anatomy and Histology, and Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology.

Academics and leaders from the district strongly feel that the university should be located in Bidar. They contend that as there already are three universities in Bangalore — Bangalore University, University of Agricultural Sciences, and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences — there is no point in establishing another university there. On the contrary, the backward Hyderabad Karnataka region has only Gulbarga University.

If the university comes up here, it will boost dairy farming in the region. Bidar, with its ideal climatic conditions and proximity to big cities such as Hyderabad, Solapur, Pune, and Mumbai, has great potential for milk production.

The former NDDB chief, Verghese Kurien, during his visit to Bidar in the early Eighties had remarked that "if the potential here is exploited to the maximum, milk will have to be supplied through pipelines and not in cans".

The local Deoni breed of cattle, which has won the national championship 27 times, is on the verge of extinction due to lack of proper attention and research. The breed is known for its high milk yield.

Infrastructure apart, what may work in Bangalore's favour is the disposition of bureaucrats and academics working there who are loath to move from the State capital and work in a far-off place like Bidar.

Moreover, even though there is a clamour to set up the university here from academics and leaders, there is no concerted action on their part to exert pressure on the Government.

The recommendation by the Nanjundappa committee has come as a shot in the arm to those demanding the setting up of the university here.

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