Shouts of approval accompanied by thumping of desk for Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy’s budget resounded among the leaders of the Congress-JD(S) coalition. As the Chief Minister went on to list goodies allocated in the budget for the development of various districts, the leaders of the Opposition BJP grew steadily angry.
This is because the budget presented on Thursday had doled out more goodies to districts, which are considered strongholds of the JD(S) and Congress.
From construction of multi-specialty hospitals to the introduction of the Israel-model of agriculture, a Disneyland in Karnataka to develop tourism, all budgetary allocations went for the development of the Old Mysuru area and a few Congress-dominated districts in north and central Karnataka.
Districts including Hassan, Mandya, Mysuru, Ramanagara, Chamarajanagara, Chikkaballapura, Kolar, Koppala, Gadag, Chitradurga, Bengaluru Rural, and Vijayapura - all strongholds of the JD(S) and Congress – have been the focus of the budget.
Not many developmental works were announced for the BJP-dominated coastal districts including Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru and Shivamogga districts. A meagre Rs 4 crore was allotted for the Fish Farming Incentive Scheme.
“We expected a good amount of development projects to Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. But the Chief Minister has disappointed us by keeping the coastal districts out of the budget purview,” said Harish Poonja, MLA of Belthangady.
BJP leader and Chikmagalur MLA CT Ravi too expressed his disapproval of the budget and many BJP leaders alleged that the CM had presented a “Hassan-Holenarasipura budget”.
“All the new schemes have been announced in areas where the JD(S) and Congress have won. All major investment has been allocated to ministries held by JD(S) leaders. They are trying to milk as much money as they can from this budget,” a BJP leader on the condition of anonymity alleged.
Here is a list of the benefits doled out to the Congress-JD(S) belt:
Rs 150 crore was allotted for stage 1 of launching the Israel-model irrigation facility in 5,000 hectares of dry land in Kolar, Chitradurga, Koppala and Gadag districts.
Rs 3 crore has been allotted to establish a silk cocoon market in Mysuru. In the 2018-19 fiscal, Rs 1 crore will be utilized for the establishment of the market.
Hassan has been a JD(S) bastion for the past two decades. For the betterment of cattle rearers of Hassan, Rs 50 crore has been earmarked for the establishment of a mega diary with the capacity of collecting 10-15 lakh litres of milk per day.
The district will receive funding for establishing manufacturing units of floor tiles and sanitary goods. Rs 10 crore has been earmarked for the revival of the Karnataka Implement Manufacturing Company in Hassan. This unit will manufacture products for state-run buses.
Rs 70 crore has been set aside for bringing in drinking water from the Hemavati Dam to 160 tanks in Hassan. A ring road which will be constructed around Hassan city has been proposed at the cost of Rs 30 crore.
A new medical college will be established in Kanakapura. The Mandya Medical Sciences Institute Hospital will get an 800-bed upgrade at the cost of Rs 30 crore. Kidwai Cancer Hospital has received a grant of Rs 12 crore and a new super specialty hospital will be constructed in Ramanagara at the cost of Rs 40 crore. This hospital will have 300 beds.
The Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation, which became non-functional in Channapattana will be revived at the cost of Rs 5 crore.
Kumaraswamy is the MLA from Channapattana, a constituency in the Ramanagara district, which has for long been a JD(S) stronghold. Kumaraswamy also won from the Ramanagara constituency. The CM is expected to vacate the Ramanagara seat and his wife Anita Kumaraswamy is expected to contest from a JD(S) ticket.
Rs 30 crore has been set aside to construct a Film University in Ramanagara and Rs 40 crore to encourage industries such as photography, editing, sound recording institutes and animation studios at the Ramanagara Film City.
The budget has also announced development of Belur, Hampi and Vijayapura into tourist hubs and Rs 20 crore has been earmarked for this project. Rs 5 crore has been allotted to develop the tourism activities at the Bhara Chukki and Gagana Chukki Falls in Mandya district.
An arts and crafts village is proposed to come up in Ramanagara district. This project will boost the business of the toy makers of Channapattana, who were suffering severe losses in the previous years.
Rs 5 crore has been earmarked for converting the Brindavan Gardens in Mysuru into a replica of Disneyland to promote tourism.
The budget proposes establishment of a cluster for manufacturing mechanized toys in Koppala district, an industry of mobile phone components is said to come up in Chikkaballapura, a unit to produce sports equipment in Tumakuru and a manufacturing unit in Bidar where agricultural implements will be produced.
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