Mysuru: The Mysore Race Course (MRC) will be closed and shifted to a spacious land that will be beyond 25 kilometres from the city limits, said the newly-appointed Minister for Tourism and Sericulture S.R. Mahesh.
He was addressing a press conference at the Central Sericulture Research and Training Institute on Manandawadi Road in city this morning after visiting the Suttur Mutt and seeking the blessings of Suttur Seer Sri Shivarathri Deshikendra Swamiji.
The Minister said that the licence of MRC will not be renewed at any cost. “The State Government will not renew the licence and the MRC property will be taken over by the Government where a Botanical Garden and a Bird Park will come up. We will not allow racing activities within the city limits and instead utilise the space to promote Mysuru as a tourist hub,” the Minister said.
Detailing out his plans on the MRC, the Minister said that he will visit the MRC today at 3 pm to discuss the issue with MRC Chairman and Secretary. “I will go there to discuss the holding of International Yoga Day event at MRC lawns like last year on June 21 and will discuss the issue of the club closure and shifting,” he said. The 139 acres of land was leased to the MRC by the Public Works Department (PWD) in 1976.
When the reporters questioned about the MRC authorities going to the Court against the shifting move, Mahesh said that the government will convince the MRC authorities to let go of the land. “The land belongs to the PWD that is looked after by Minister H.D. Revanna. I will discuss the issue with Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and Revanna and take the issue to a logical end. The MRC cannot claim the land as their own and must vacate it for larger benefits of the public,” he said.
“I know that by asking the MRC to shut operations and shift, I will be putting my hands into a beehive as there will be a backlash and controversies. I am ready to face it and the government will have to take a step that benefits a common man,” Mahesh said.
Asked about the alternative land to MRC, Mahesh said that hundreds of acres of Government land were available beyond 25 kilometres of Mysuru city limits. “The MRC can easily be shifted there and it will be convenient and spacious for them to shift, instead of operating within city limits in a prime property.
It may be recalled here that as an MLA and before becoming the Minister, S.R. Mahesh had repeatedly urged the State Government in the past not to renew the licence of the MRC.
As the Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Karnataka Legislature, Mahesh had visited the MRC in July last year and had asked the MRC authorities to hand over the land back to PWD to develop a Bird Park and a Botanical Garden.
Mahesh, then an MLA, had directed the MRC to hand over the land to the Sri Chamarajendra Zoological Gardens, popular as Mysuru Zoo.
He had then stated that if the MRC land is surrendered back to the government, it will help the Zoo to extend area-wise and also develop the Botanical Garden.