The HD Kumaraswamy government’s move comes as the demand for separate statehood for north Karnataka reared its head again a few months ago.

HDK tries to placate north Karnataka Agrees to move 9 admin offices to the region
news Politics Friday, September 07, 2018 - 14:26

In a move to pacify protestors and leaders demanding separate statehood for north Karnataka, the state government on Thursday decided to move some administrative offices out of Bengaluru to the region. The Cabinet, led by Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Thursday, okayed the proposal mooted by a committee headed by Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Krishna Byre Gowda announced that  the head offices of Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Ltd., Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd., the Sugarcane Directorate and the office of the Sugarcane Commissioner, Karnataka Powerloom Development Corporation, Department of Archives, offices of two Information Commissioners and one Karnataka Human Rights Commission member will be shifted to north Karnataka.

Additionally, a decision was taken to form a separate Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board for the region by dividing the existing board. A separate sub-committee will be formed to decide on where exactly these offices will be set up. As of now, Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam would be set up in Almatti, Bagalkote.

Other than these government offices being shifted to the region, speculation is also rife that MB Patil, former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation and a prominent leader from the region, will be inducted in the Cabinet.

The demand for statehood, however is not new or directed towards just the Kumaraswamy government. Activists, primarily of the Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti, allege that successive state governments have given the region a step-motherly treatment – be it with regard to budgetary allocations, representation in Cabinets or development projects.

Sources in the CM’s office said that the move is primarily to appease the people of north Karnataka ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

"By moving offices and setting up local industries in this area, Kumaraswamy would have done what other politicians and Chief Ministers did not. It’s about telling people that even though they forgot about the JD(S) (during the Assembly elections), Kumaraswamy has not forgotten their needs. More than helping the Congress, it will work for the JD(S) in its move to reconstruct a positive image in the minds of the people of north Karnataka," a source said.

Reacting to the Cabinet decision, Ashok Chandargi, a state government employee and vocal activist, said, “We heartily welcome this decision of the Kumaraswamy government. This is a small but good beginning to give justice to the people of north Karnataka. Since the last 6-7 years, we have asked that offices be shifted from Vidhana Soudha to the Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi. Suvarna Soudha was built at a cost of Rs 500 crore and yearly another Rs 5-6 crore is spent for its maintenance. But it is a waste of public money.”

He added, “At least the Cabinet has now responded to our demand. Why were the offices related to water projects of the region running from Bengaluru? We will be submitting to the CM, on September 15 when he will visit Belagavi, a memorandum asking him for further decentralisation of departments. So now, for every small thing, people do not have to rush to Bengaluru.”

BD Hiremath, an advocate from Dharwad, and a member of the Uttara Karnataka Vikasa Vedike, concurred.

He said, “This is a step in the right direction. Credit should go to Kumaraswamy for this, as we have been demanding this for a long time. But it is not enough; we need all departments to have offices in north Karnataka, especially rural development. Also, ministers should sit in the northern districts to address people’s issues.”

The Opposition BJP had recently attacked the government, and especially Public Works Department MInister HD Revanna, who is the brother of CM HD Kumaraswamy, for shifting the Karnataka State Highways Improvement Project office from Belagavi to Hassan.  





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