Case of subletting? Bengaluru hospital miffed over health varsity collecting rent from post office

ByChetana Belagere

Published Oct 27, 2022 | 4:05 PMUpdatedOct 28, 2022 | 2:39 PM

File pic of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Jayanagar

A post office functioning out of a rented space on the Jayanagar General Hospital (JGH) premises in Karnataka has been delivering rent to the wrong address for years, right under the eye of the legal owner!

The baffling activity came to light when the state-run Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) increased the rent threefold.

“We were paying a rent of  ₹5,000 to the university. They are now demanding ₹20,000,” an India Post employee attached to the post office confirmed.

Interestingly, the general hospital knows that the rent, rightfully belonging to it, has been going to the university.

Legal owner keeps watching

JGH Medical Superintendent Dr Ramakrishnappa, too, affirmed that the rent has been going to the university.

“I have been the medical superintendent here for the past one-and-a-half years. The hospital has been functioning here since1985. The entire property belongs to the Jayanagar General Hospital. RGUHS has been here since 1996,” he said.

“Ideally, the post office should have paid us the rent,” he added.

If the post office has been paying the rent to RGUHS, JGH must have lost close to ₹12 lakh to date. The post office has been functioning on the campus for the past two decades.

Dr Ramakrishna said he had written to the post office, demanding rent. “The Public Works Department will calculate the rent on a square-foot basis and inform us,” he added.

The hospital administrator expressed ignorance over the rent that has been paid to RGUHS. “Since the amount is not being paid to us, we are not sure how much they are paying,” he said.

A university official put the rent at ₹5,000. Sources, however, said that no proper documentation of the rental agreement has been made between the two parties.

South First‘s attempts to contact senior RGUHS officials went in vain.

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Wanted: Political will and a campus for RGUHS

The general hospital has been temporarily accommodating the RGUHS. Efforts to find a permanent campus for the university are yet to yield any result.

“It is an interesting tale,” a senior doctor at the RGUHS said about the 26-year-long and continuing search for a suitable location to set up the campus.

“The university was established in June 1996 through the enactment of the RGUHS, Karnataka Act, 1994, to bring all existing health science colleges and institutions that were earlier affiliated with the conventional universities in Karnataka under one roof,” the doctor, who did not wish to be identified, explained.

Since the necessary land was not immediately available, the government decided to locate the university on JGH premises at 4th T-Block in Jayanagar, Bengaluru.

Later, when HD Kumaraswamy became the chief minister in 2007, he decided to shift RGUHS to 71 acres in his constituency, Ramanagara, some 50 kms from the city.

Ramanagara farmers up in protest 

“However, due to several hurdles, including farmers hitting the streets in protest against land acquisition, the proposal was put on hold. During the Congress-JD(S) coalition rule in 2018, a green signal was given to establish the university in Ramanagara, and the administrative section was shifted to the old collectorate there for a few months” the doctor added.

The government, however,  failed to sort out the land acquisition issues, and the plan was shelved.

When CN Ashwath Narayana became the deputy chief minister in 2019, he rekindled hopes of its own campus for RGUHS. Narayana, who also held the Medical Education portfolio, announced that the new campus and headquarters would come up in Ramanagara and he would turn it into a “health city”.

Recently, the current Health and Medical Education minister Dr K Sudhakar told the state Assembly that tenders had been invited and the university will soon be shifted.

“Relocating the RGUHS has become a political manifesto for every health minister,” the doctor said, adding that the university’s presence on JGH premises has been hindering the development of both institutions.

“The hospital is too overcrowded and it can’t expand because of the university. RGUHS, too, is facing the same issue,” he added.