Karnataka Chief Minister Jagdish Shettar has pressed for the passage of a Constitutional Amendment Bill for providing a special status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
He was speaking at a meeting of state ministers and lawmakers to elicit their opinion on the issue, before speaking to the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, about the passage of the bill during the winter session of parliament.
The proposed Constitution Bill, 2012seeks to insert a new Article 371 J to provide a special status to establish a separate Development Board for the erstwhile Hyderabad-Karnataka region consisting of the districts of Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal, Yadgir and Bellary to speed up development, promote growth and provide reservation in education and vocational training institutions for domiciles of the region.
Shettar said that ministers and lawmakers arrived at a consensus that the bill should be passed during the ongoing winter session of the parliament.
"I convened the meeting of central ministers and Lok Sabha (lower house)and Rajya Sabha (upper house) members, our cabinet colleagues in Karnataka government. We thoroughly discussed about the consequences of Article 371 amendment to the Constitution, regarding giving special status to Hyderabad Karnataka. After discussion, all our unanimity regarding that whatever the bill is already presented in the parliament; that it has to be passed. It is the decision of the parliament members and central ministers," he said on Tuesday.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister and Congress leader Veerappa Moily, said the demand was legitimate, keeping in view the backwardness of the region.
But he added that to come up with fresh consultations on the issue was a difficult task.
"The constitutional amendment to provide the special status, the region which is contained in the Hyderabad Karnataka, you know it is agitating the minds of the people. This is a legitimate place, which has to be provided, because of the backwardness. So, the standing committee headed by Venkaiah Naidu gave a suggestion to withdraw the constitutional bill and consult the opposition. Right from 1956, this has been agitating in the minds of the people and representation after representation has been coming since last 40 years. The committee, to say today that you know the 40 years consultation is not enough, we must have fresh consultation; this is not possible at all," he said.
According to the Bill, the President can empower the Governor to establish a separate development board for Hyderabad Karnataka region, with the provision that a report on the working of the board will be placed each year before the state l assembly.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said that he had an objection regarding involvement of the Governor in the process.
"The standing committee of the parliament has sent back the bill to the Home (interior ) Ministry, asking to hold consultations with the state government of Karnataka and bring back the modified version at the earliest. That is what the recommendation of the standing committee of Parliament on Home Affairs. Now, our MPs meeting is being held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister. I have told them that as far as me as a member of Parliament is concerned, I have an objection for involving the governor in the developmental process. It should be left to the state government. You know, in the present situation in the country, where there is friction between government of India and various state governments about the governor institution being misused, you cannot have governor over and above in an elected government. The backwardness of the region has to be taken care of by the state government, which is elected," he said.
As per State Human Development Index, Raichur, Bidar, Gulbarga are the most backward districts in the state. The literacy rate of Karnataka is 75.6 percent, while that of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region is 64.93 percent. (ANI)