Hubballi: In a direct reaction to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's jibe at voters of north Karnataka, the North Karnataka Agitation Committee on Wednesday called for a shutdown across 13 districts to press for a separate state.
President of the committee, Somashekar Kotambari, told the media here the bandh would be a mark of protest against Chief Minister Mr Kumaraswamy's statement on whether local residents would be able to generate the revenue for completion of Upper Krishna Project (UKP) in case a separate state was formed.
All agitators would also protest in case elected representatives fail to support their demands. "The governments have been meting out step-motherly treatment to north Karnataka for seven decades. All these governments have failed to focus on overall development and neglected the region in all sectors including education, irrigation. They concentrated only on Bengaluru and southern parts of the state while setting up big industries and information technology firms.
Therefore, injustice can be resolved only after realising our dream to form separate state for the region", he added. Urging Mr Kumaraswamy to recommend to the Union government to carve a separate state for north Karnataka instead of raising questions over mobilization of funds for development of the region, he said various organizations would pressurize Kannada activists including Vatal Nagaraj to support their demand.
He said a committee would be constituted to gather the opinion of people of all thirteen districts in connection with the demand for separate statehood as the region had sufficient infrastructure including a bench of the high court, and Suvarna Soudha to run the administration after formation of separate state.
The other grouse was the state government's inability to resolve Mahadayi river water dispute. Various organisations are contending that the government has failed to take up major projects in north Karnataka and not allotted additional funds to restore balance in terms of development. They claimed that the irrigation projects like Upper Krishna Project, Kalasa Banduri did not get due attention in the Budget despite being the lifeline of farmers in the drought prone region.
Terming the governments' move to hold legislative session at Suvarna Soudha in Belagavi merely as an eyewash, leaders of several organizations said that no measures are taken to shift several departments from Vidhan Soudha make administrative machinery more accessible to the people of the region.
Meanwhile, several BJP leaders from North Karnataka have been protesting against the neglect of their region by the JD(S)-Congress coalition government and have even spoken in favour of a separate north Karnataka state.