North Karnataka, reeling under neglect

Thirteen districts of north Karnataka recently raised a fresh cry for a separate State, pointing out that Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s budgetary allocations favoured only the southern districts. The crisis has blown over and Mr. Kumaraswamy has clarified that he has big plans for the development of the region. Historical neglect during the pre-Independence era, coupled with apathy after unification of Karnataka, has often been cited as the reason for backwardness of north Karnataka. Almost on all markers of development, there is a marked lag. A symbol of this has been the Krishna. People of the region have always argued that the river and projects related to it never get the attention that the Cauvery in south Karnataka does. In recent times, the delay in solving the long-pending inter-State Mahadayi river row has been cited as another pointer to the apathy.
Lack of political will is often cited as the biggest reason for backwardness, though the region has sent five Chief Ministers so far. But reasons are deeper, point out some studies. The Centre for Multi Disciplinary Research (CMDR), based in Dharwad, came out with a “Critical analysis of Dr. D.M. Nanjunadappa Committee Report and its implementation” by Shiddalingaswami V. Hanagodimath in 2014. It says: “This regional imbalance is the product of plans, because plan makers have concentrated on overall development than the potential and availability of resources in different regions and its optimum utilisation. Hence, regional disparity has increased.” The Siddaramaiah government had asked the CMDR to review the implementation of the Nanjundappa committee report. It submitted a draft report earlier this year, and the Kumaraswamy government must take it forward.
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