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3 to 4 new districts to be carved out in Karnataka

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Mar 7: Karnataka is all set to get three or four new districts. While there are no problems with the proposed Chikballapur district (carved out of Bangalore Rural and Kolar), the break-up of the unwieldy Belgaum and Gulbarga districts is likely to run into trouble.

A decade after seven new districts were carved out, taking the total in the state from 20 to 27, the exercise has begun again. To skirt clear of prickly issues that previous governments faced before they zeroed in on the seven districts, the Kumaraswamy government has set up a panel to look into the infrastructure, views and feasibility factors, and recommend new districts that could be carved out of Bangalore (Rural), Kolar, Gulbarga and Belgaum.

A preliminary notification calling for objections has to be issued under the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, followed by a final notification. Once the government decides, it takes at least three months to complete the formalities to form a new district.

The panel going into the issue comprises retired bureaucrats of additional chief secretary rank, with V Balasubramanian heading it, Chiranjeev Singh and K V Irniraya being members and regional commissioner (Bangalore) as member-secretary. Both Balasubramanian and Irniraya were deputy commissioners and later divisional commissioners of Gulbarga district/revenue division.

The notification, issued on March 1, has given three months to the committee to hear public suggestions and go into the geographical and social aspects before making the recommendations. The ongoing exercise for delimitation of constituencies will not affect this process.

New districts in Belgaum and Gulbarga should have been formed in 1997 along with the seven others. But since taluks coming under the new districts were politically sensitive, the issue was kept on the back-burner.

Though senior Congress leaders N Dharam Singh or Mallikarjun M Kharge do not admit in the open, there is a tussle between the two over Yadgir and Shahapur for the district tag: Kharge would be happy if Yadgir becomes a district, as it has a railway line and helps his Gurmitkal constituency. Singh would prefer Shahapur, as it has infrastructure.

He would also stand to lose a portion of his Jewargi constituency, which may get attached to Yadgir. What is the cost?

According to an official estimate, the creation of each new district costs the government around Rs 15 crore. Formation of a new district needs additional administrative expenditure, as it involves creation of the posts of deputy commissioners and superintendents of police and other paraphernalia.

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