Karnataka 2018

Ground realities take a back seat in H.D. Kote constituency

H.D. Kote taluk has four reservoirs — Kabini, Taraka, Hebbala, and Nugu — but the beneficiaries are mostly in the adjoining Gundlupet and Nanjangud taluks   | Photo Credit: File Photo

The backward region of H.D. Kote in Mysuru is caught in the vortex of caste and party loyalty, with development issues relegated to the background ahead of the Assembly elections.

Though H.D. Kote constituency is reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST), the benefit has been cornered by the Naika community which is in a majority.

The region lags behind on various development parameters, including health, education and gender equality, as mentioned in the D.M. Nanjundappa Committee Report on regional imbalances, but these issues never come to the fore in the political discussions.

But the constituency is in a state of ferment as the voters are confused after the death of the sitting MLA Chikkamadu of the JD(S). His son Anil Chikkamadu has joined the Congress while Chikkanna, who has been with the Congress all these years, has returned to the JD(S) fold in search of greener pastures. In all this party-hopping, the issues germane to voters never came to the fore.

“Neither the voters nor the political parties are keen on discussing development works though there are plenty to talk about and implement,” Vivek Cariappa, an organic farmer from the taluk, said.

Forest cover

Notwithstanding its ‘backward tag’, the constituency is rich in natural resources. That 112 villages in the taluk come under the eco-sensitive zones of Bandipur and Nagarahole national parks underlines the extent of forest cover. Incidentally, this is also one of the few taluks devoid of manufacturing units as the focus is on developing agro-forestry and related activities.

“However, successive political parties have promised nothing and done nothing but for a few roads to connect the rural hinterland,” said Mr. Cariappa.

H.D. Kote, a major cotton growing area, has no canal irrigation facility, and the bulk of agriculture takes place under rainfed conditions. Farmers never feel the need to rake up this issue.

The taluk has four reservoirs — Kabini, Taraka, Hebbala, and Nugu — but given the geographical location, the beneficiaries are in the adjoining Gundlupet and Nanjangud taluks. Recently, a new hobli — Sargur — was created but the benefits or the positive impacts of the new administrative unit are yet to be felt, according to locals.

The taluk, located about 50 km from Mysuru, also has a sizeable number of adivasis or forest-dwelling people, many of whom have been displaced over the years. It has witnessed two major displacements — once when the national parks were notified and later when Kabini reservoir was constructed, both in the early 1970s.

Though the tribals paid the price for development, they were not suitably compensated or rehabilitated. What is worse, no political parties have thought it fit to address the issue.

Man-animal conflict

The villages in the eco-sensitive zones of the national parks are epicentres of man-animal conflict, yet no efforts have been made to seek a permanent solution underlining the disconnect between what the voters really need and what is discussed in political circles.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 2:46:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/karnataka-2018/ground-realities-take-a-back-seat-in-hd-kote-constituency/article23506300.ece

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