A notification was issued on February 8 to redefine the boundaries of these two districts



Belgaum: The state government has initiated the process of dividing the expansive districts of Belgaum and Tumkur, marking a significant step towards administrative decentralisation and improved governance.

In accordance with the Central Government Registration Act, 1908, (Section 5, Sub section 1), a notification was issued on February 8 to redefine the boundaries of these two districts. The notification has been disseminated to the respective stakeholders in each district for the administrative restructuring of the districts.

The clamour for dividing Belgaum district and establishing a new district centered around Chikkodi has been echoing since 1975. After two decades, the then JH Patel government acceded to the division proposal on August 22, 1997, during a legislative session.

Subsequently, the government announced plans to bifurcate Belagavi district into three distinct parts, with Belagavi, Chikkodi, and Gokak as focal points. However, opposition from certain taluks, including Ramadurga, Savadatti, and Bailahongala, against merging with the proposed Gokak district halted the process. Meanwhile, activists from Belagavi, Khanapur, and Hukkeri taluks coalesced to form the ‘Belagavi District Struggle Committee’ to voice their dissent.

Led by Ashoka Chandragi, the district agitation Committee spearheaded a relentless agitation from August 25, 1997, culminating in a formal petition submitted to then chief minister JH Patel. The protests led by eminent leaders such as Patila Puttappa and S Nijalingappa, compelled the government to retract its decision on September 29, 1997, rescinding the proposed district division.

“We are committed to dividing the district into three parts, with Gokak as one of the centers,” reiterated district in-charge minister Satish Jarakiholi. In tandem, Bylahongala MLA Mahantesh Kaujalagi affirmed, “Bilahongala will be the center of the third district.”

However, at the governmental level, discussions on the division have not yet transpired. Minister of Women and Child Development, Lakshmi Hebbalkar, said, “The CM will consider all viewpoints before making a decision.” Responding to the notification, MLA Mahantesh Kaujalagi stated, “I have acknowledged the notification, but its relevance to the district division remains unclear.”

Highlighting a crucial precondition, Ashoka Chandragi, president of the Action Committee of Kannada Organisations, cautioned, “Before proceeding with the district division, the government must resolve the Karnataka-Maharashtra border issue to prevent potential complications.”

Source: Siasat Daily