North Karnataka was the centre of dramatic developments as the demand for a separate statehood emerged last week. The activists demanding so have highlighted the negligence of the state government towards the region. Farmers in this region are facing a severe crisis that can neither be resolved by statehood nor the merely verbal furore of the politicians in the assembly.
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Karnataka has recorded heavy rainfall this monsoon season. The Northern districts of the state, however, untouched by the monsoon, continue to be on the verge of a drought. According to the India Meteorological Department, only 26 per cent of the Northern Interior Region of Karnataka received rainfall, which too was insufficient. The Agriculture Minister of the state, N H Shivshankar Reddy has noted that if this dry spell continued for the next 10 days, it would be disastrous for the agriculture sector and the state will have to declare the region a drought-hit region. However, the recorded data of 24 hours daily rainfall the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre is showing that this region continues to record very little rainfall.
As the Ministry of Agriculture of the state itself is pointing at a disastrous future for the farmers in the region, it should be the foremost responsibility of the state government to address the issue and plan a suitable remedy. However, it has been silent so far even after receiving criticism for ignoring the North Karnataka region. The Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, on August 5, 2018, said that he had grand plans for the “development” in this region. He has “requested” the IT-BT (Information Technology and Bio Technology) companies to invest in places such as Kalaburagi, Koppal, and Bidar, and he also has promised all infrastructure facilities. How would this help the distressed farmers in the state? It is only the CM who can answer this question.
On the one hand, the farmers in the region continue to be in the state of distress, and the state government seems to have grown numb to the plight of farmers. On the other hand, divisive forces of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state are ready to grab this opportunity for its political gains.
Various activists in North Karnataka have raised their voices demanding a different state comprising 13 districts in the region. Organisations like Uttara Karnataka Horata Samiti and Uttara Karnataka Vikasa Vedike accusing the state government of ignoring the region's interests, had called for a bandh on August 2, 2018. Though the bandh was not successful and failed to receive support in the state, BJP MLAs B. Sriramulu and Janardhana reddy supported the call and the demand for the separate statehood.
Supporting the demand for the separate statehood by the North Karnataka region, Sriramulu had said, “We will not keep quiet if injustice is meted out to North Karnataka. We the MLAs from North Karnataka are holding discussions. Just wait and watch, what we will do next. Like separate Telangana, this (movement) will also become a big 'revolution'. The coalition government has ignored North Karnataka. Chief Minister Kumaraswamy is practising the politics of partiality.” This is not surprising as one expects the BJP to make use of a crisis situation by politicising it for its own gains.
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