Bidar remembers N Dharam Singh

THEHINDU||BIDAR: As Chief Minister and MP, N. Dharam Singh helped the backward district of Bidar in various ways. The biggest of them was the splitting of two agricultural universities in Dharwad and Bengaluru and the formation of the Karnataka Veterinary University and locating it in Bidar, 750 km from Bengaluru.

He conceded the demand for a government medical college in Bidar by activists in 2005 and preferred Bidar to Kalaburagi, his home district.

Members of the government medical college agitation committee went to Bengaluru to meet [former] Chief Minister Dharam Singh. “We met him in the veranda in front of the Chief Minister’s residence,” recalls Channabasappa Halhalli, president of the committee.

“When we told him we had come for the medical college,” he joked, “Are such serious decisions taken on the road? Please come inside. We will discuss over tea.” By afternoon, he called a meeting of the officials concerned and spoke to them. By the end of the meeting, he announced that a section of the college to Bidar. It was in the year 2005 and he had no idea that he would have to contest parliamentary polls from Bidar four years later, Mr. Halhalli said.

Dharam Singh conceived and implemented the four-way Bidar-Srirangapatna highway. The 900-km road was started when he was Public Works Minister but ended when he was the Chief Minister.

Dharam Singh lobbied with Ministers in the UPA government at the Centre and the Opposition leaders from NDA to introduce and pass a Constitution amendment Bill to provide special status to Hyderabad Karnataka region.

His cordial relationships with BJP leaders in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha aided his efforts.

He successfully pleaded with then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi to run an inter-city train between Bidar and Hyderabad in 2012. Later, with Mallikarjun Kharge assuming charge of the Railway Ministry, Dharam Singh got sanctioned a pit line in Khanapur and a new train between Bidar and Bengaluru.

He increased the allocation to the Kannada Sahitya Parishat by nearly five times to organise the All India Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in Bidar in 2005. He led a delegation of Sikh leaders and residents of Bidar city to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek Rs. 100 crore for the “Gur ta Gaddi” or the 300th anniversary of coronation of the Holy Guru Granth Sahib in Bidar in 2007.

He led several delegations of the Bidar Chamber of Commerce and Industries to convince the Defence Ministry and the Airport Authority of India for an airport here. The two agencies approved the proposal later.

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