BENGALURU: On Tuesday, Karnataka celebrates 60 years of the state’s formation on November 1, 1956. On this day, the old Mysore state and other Kannada language-speaking regions of Bombay, Madras presidencies and Hyderabad state were merged to form Karnataka.
But unfortunately, development in the state has not been uniform.
Mysore had a head start of 60 years. It had good administrators and it was evident from its progress. When the new state was created, Old Mysore areas were already developed in all aspects and the difference is still alive. North Karnataka was backward and Nizam territories were much more backward than the area under the British rule, mainly Mumbai-Karnataka.
Many in the north parts of the state have complained that development has largely been restricted to the Old Mysore region. Officers are not fair in allocating funds. Take for instance, the west coast, which has been kept backward all these years. Belikeri harbour could be an excellent all-weather port but there is no godfather for its development. Even irrigation in North Karnataka region has been awfully neglected in every aspect and money allotted by the government is quite negligible.
This may be one of the reasons for voices that have now grown louder, calling for further divison of the state. People of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh have foolishly undone their state, but people of North Karnartaka should not follow this example. Of course, disparity between the northern and southern regions is definitely a concern, but breaking up the state is not the solution.
A report prepared 30 years ago by retired bureaucrat Chiranjeevi Singh called for a new capital on the banks of Tungabhdra River, the central part of the state. Singh once stated, “If disparity among regions continues, no one can stop the break up of the state.” But will building of a new capital help address the regional imbalance?
(The author is a veteran journalist based in Hubballi. He has contributed for the unification of Karnataka through his newspaper ‘VishwaVani’).