Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy confirmed that the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) will not be bifurcated. The bifurcation was proposed in the State budget presented on February 8 but it faced resistance from several persons particularly from northern Karnataka since VTU is currently in Belagavi.
Instead of the proposed bifurcation, a world-class institute will soon come up in Hassan. “They are thinking that we are bifurcating VTU to benefit the southern part of the State. But we do not have any such intention, and I have decided to drop the idea,” Kumaraswamy said as per The Hindu.
"It is significant that the Chief Minister has announced this from Hassan itself. We welcome the decision and we feel we are vindicated after relentlessly campaigning to prevent the bifurcation," Ashok Chandargi, an activist based in Belagavi told TNM.
The change of heart comes after a protest was held in Belagavi criticising the decision as a discrimination against the northern districts in the state. A #SaveVTU signature campaign was started by Belagavi South MLA Abhay Patil. The campaign was supported by several MLAs from the northern districts of Karnataka cutting across political affiliations.
The protesters highlighted that bifurcating VTU when there is a shortage of students at technical universities in the state would lead to further issues. The protesters were also adamant that instead of setting up a new institute in Hassan, the government should develop the infrastructure being built in Muddenahalli in Chikkaballapura by VTU.
The Kumaraswamy government has been accused of concentrating on Hassan and Old Mysore region in the state budget with several projects outlined for the southern districts. The institute to be built in Hassan is expected to begin functioning by the next academic year.
The government had formed a panel to study the bifurcation of VTU before it was presented in the budget but it has now shelved its plans due to criticism over its decision.