Save Sahyadri College Campus
Save Sahyadri College Campus
Shivamogga, the epicentre of the most important people’s movements in Karnataka is also rich in its literary cultural legacies. The home district of Kuvempu, U.R. Ananthamurthy, P. Lankesh and six chief ministers now face the threat of losing its heritage building housing a leading educational institution. Sahyadri college was founded in 1940-41 as an intermediate college with sprawling campus of 100 acres granted by the then Maharaja of Mysore, Shri Chamraja Wodeyar. A huge building was constructed and soon became almost a heritage site. The alumni and former students of the college include U.R. Anathamurthy, Poornachandra Tejaswi, P. Lankesh, CNR Rao, KV Subbanna and many more. Sahydri college which was a government college earlier is now a constituent college of Kuvempu University. It has catered to the educational needs mostly of the rural underprivileged students.
The rude shock came in the form of a decision taken by the district administration at a meeting attended by KS Eshwarappa, a senior BJP minister and BY Raghavendra, a BJP MP. The decision was to hand over 18.4 acres of land belonging to Sahyadri college along with a recently constructed commerce college building and a stadium to the state government. The Union Sports Minister, Kiran Rijiju had assured that a Sports Training Centre (STC) would be created on the campus. The details are still not shared with the public but the Deputy Commissioner has written to the Vice-Chancellor of Kuvempu University on 16th April asking him to take steps to hand over the land to the Department of Youth Empowerment and Sports.
The alumni and hundreds of citizens have taken to the social media expressing their shock and opposition to this move. They rightly fear that the majestic campus will be truncated and one huge chunk with the stadium shall be almost a protected area because the STC is meant to train nationally selected sportspersons using sports facilities for which over 70 crores and more is expected to be granted. The district administration and the Vice-Chancellor have been making vague assurances that students of the university shall use the sports facilities (not true), the university will ‘maintain’ the STC land (after losing the ownership completely) and Shivamogga shall be on international sports map. There is no clarity on how a large number of students will be accommodated in the truncated campus. While the alumni and everyone welcomes a prestigious STC to Shivamogga, why should it be at the cost of Sahyadri campus which is now already a part of the city? Suspicion is running high because the last meeting of the district administration on 16th April and the next scheduled on 3rd May in the middle of a devastating COVID pandemic. There is every reason to suspect ulterior motives when the DC himself convenes a meeting when Shivamogga has had over 1000 new COVID cases and 6 deaths just a day ago. A huge protest is getting ready to resist this undemocratic move to destroy a heritage institution in a suspicious hurry during COVID.
Please join us in our protest by saying Save Sahyadri College Campus.