The story of the starting of Medical College, Bellary is the saga of struggle and sacrifice of citizens of Bellary. Following its merger with erstwhile Mysore State in 1953, Bellary become a mere District Headquarter.
In the absence of a medical college in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region or old Madras region, there was a great demand and pressure on the Government for starting a new Medical College in this region. Action committees were formed at difference places like Gulbarga, Belgaum, Davanagere, Mangalore and Bellary.
A local sponsoring committee was constituted in August 1959 under the leadership of late Sri. H. Linga Reddy, the M.L.A. from Kurugodu constituency, late Sri. Y.Mahabaleswarappa, Sri. Tekur Subramanya,M.P., Sri.M.Y.Ghorpade, MLA, Sandur, Allum Karibasappa, M.L.A., Dr. Y.P. Vittal eminent E.N.T. Surgeon and others became active in Bellary.
The citizens of Bellary whole-heartedly contributed Rs. 10.00 lakhs to the corpus fund not deterred by the staff competition from other action committees, the people of Bellary backed by local organisations, politicians staged a relentless “Battle Royale” through bandh’s, agitations, processions for getting a new Medical College at Bellary. Then a technical committee appointed by the Government surveyed the various places and submitted its report to the Government, recommending Bellary as the ideal place for starting a new Medical College. Sri.B.D.Jatti, the then Chief Minister accepted its views and the state cabinet ratified and gave its approval for locating the Medical College at Bellary and was included in the Third Five Year Plan.
Former Allipur jail complex was selected as the building for starting new Medical College which is luxuriantly spread over 173 acres of land. The British Government established this high security and high profile, Allipur Jail in 19th Century. Prisoners from a Boerr war and the two World Wars were imprisoned in this world famous jail. Later on, prominent national leaders like, Sri. Rajaji, Sri.Kamaraj, Sri.Sanjeev Reddy, Sri.Tekur Subramanyam, Sri.V.V. Giri and others who participated in the freedom struggle were lodged in this jail. The medical college started its journey on 15th June 1961 as per the Government Order G.O.No.PLM 563 MMC 60, Bangalore and was christened as Government Medical College, Bellary.
A change over to the present Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Science, (VIMS) Bellary happened following reduction in the number of teaching faculty to a meagre 87 out of the 182 sanctioned posts, due to non- replacement of retired or transferred teachers. As a salvage measure the government established autonomy and re-christened Government medical college, Bellary as VIMS, Bellary and appointed Dr. Lalitha Mahale, as the first director and Dr.T.Ramanath, as its principal in 1996.