`Participation by members of all parties in rally heartening'
`Region has been consistently neglected over the years'`Funds allocated for region in last Budget inadequate'
GULBARGA: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly N. Dharam Singh has stressed the need for organising a concerted agitation, with the involvement of all political parties and students, to attempt to force the Union and State governments to concede the long-pending demands for the amendment of Article 371 of the Constitution and implementation of the recommendations of the High Power Committee for the Redressal of Regional Imbalances.
Addressing a large rally organised by the Hyderabad Karnataka Horata Samithi (HKHS) at the Public Garden here on Tuesday, Mr. Singh said it was heartening to note that representatives of all political parties had put aside their differences and come together to support the agitation launched by the samithi.
Mr. Singh said the first attempt to identify the reasons for backwardness of the region and suggest corrective measures was made by the former Chief Minister, the late R. Gundu Rao.
He had set up a high-power committee under his leadership for the development of the region. The committee had submitted a proposal to the State Government for Rs. 350 crore to be spent in a phased manner over a ten-year period to tackle regional imbalances.
However, before the recommendations could be implemented, Mr. Rao's government fell and the next government headed by the late Ramakrishna Hegde did not go ahead with the committee's proposal, Mr. Singh said.
It was only towards the end of the term of the government headed by S.R. Bommai that it was decided to establish the Hyderabad Karnataka Development Board.
Mr. Singh said that in the 2006-07 Budget, while Rs. 38.92 crore had been allocated for development projects in the south Karnataka, north Karnataka received only Rs. 19.85 crore. The district, which had been identified as one of the most backward, was provided only Rs 1.27 crore for taking up 38 projects in comparison to Rs 16.18 crore provided to Shimoga, which was more developed, he said.
Peetathipathi of the Sharanabasaveshwar Samasthan Poojya Sharanabasavappa Appa said that members of all political parties should launch a united agitation demanding large-scale development of the Hyderabad Karnataka region.
"How long should the people put up with the continued neglect of the region in all development activities," he asked, and added that unless quality education and health services were provided in the region, it could not be developed.