Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s first budget turned out to be a damp squib for the people of Hyderabad Karnataka as it failed to outline a road map for the implementation of Article 371 (J).

Mr. Siddaramaiah did not announce any major projects for HK either, apart from small concessions such as the textile park in Yadgir, a government medical college for Koppal and a government pharmacy college for Gulbarga. His budget has not satisfied the expectations of the people, who stood behind the Congress in the recent Assembly elections.

Apart from the establishment of a statutory development board as envisaged in Article 371, and a special cell to finalise the rules and fix reservation, Mr. Siddaramaiah has not done much to provide the expected thrust to the progress of Hyderabad Karnataka. He was also silent on the financial allocation to the new board even while announcing its formation. The current allocation of Rs. 63.5 crore has only served to raise apprehensions that the formation of the board would be further delayed.

He did not touch upon implementing the Dr. Nanjundappa panel recommendations either.

Water supply

A major concession to Hyderabad Karnataka region is the extension of the 24x7 drinking water supply to eight major towns and cities in the region: Bidar, Yadgir, Bellary, Raichur, Basavakalyan, Hospet, Shahbad and Sindanur. He has also sanctioned panchayat raj staff training centres here, and in Dharwad and Mangalore.

Another major disappointment for Gulbarga was the absence of setting up a government medical college or allot an Indian Institute of Information Technology, as proposed earlier.

However, the budget has provided funds to upgrade the peripheral cancer centre run by the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology and towards the establishment of a trauma care centre in the government general hospital. The budget was also silent on the fate of the Gulbarga airport, where construction activity has come to a complete standstill.

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