Some residents of Jat taluk in Maharashtra have spoken against the delay in providing drinking water and irrigation facilities by the government to the taluk. Protesters have warned of forming a Karnataka Ekikaran Samiti and launching an agitation to merge the taluk into Karnataka, if the Maharashtra government does not expedite irrigation projects.
Members of Jatt Taluk Irrigation Agitation Committee held a meeting in Jat on Sunday to discuss the issue. They criticised the Maharashtra government for neglecting their demands for drinking water supply and irrigation facilities.
“Most areas in Jat taluk, especially villages in the eastern part, are among the driest in the State. The taluk regularly suffers from drought. This year is no different and we are suffering from rainfall scarcity. We have been demanding a permanent solution to the problem. Successive governments have promised to complete the Maishal irrigation scheme and extend its coverage to include Jat taluk. Sadly however, our demands have been neglected. We are tired of waiting. This is our final ultimatum to our government. We will form a Karnataka Ekikaran Samiti and demand a merger into Karnataka,” Anil Shindhe, president of the committee said in the meeting.
“We will put up boards in Kannada in the worst-affected 40 villages in Jat taluk to express our displeasure,’‘ he said. He told The Hindu that some Jat taluk villages on the border with Karnataka had benefited from Karnataka government’s initiative of filling tanks with water from reservoirs.
Mr. Shindhe was a part of the delegation that met M.B. Patil, Minister for Medium and Large Industries and Vijayapura district in-charge Minister, recently, and thanked him for the tank filling project as it was benefiting Jat villages. Vikramsinh Sawant, MLA from Jat, had led the delegation, Mr. Shindhe said.
“The Maharashtra government should realise that it cannot fool all the people all the time,’‘ said Ashok Chandaragi, convenor of the Central Committee of Kannada Organisations in Belagavi. He said that it was the bounded duty of the Maharashtra government to provide water to all the taluks in that state. Ministers and other political leaders from Maharashtra keep meddling in the affairs of Karnataka by supporting divisive groups like the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti. Those leaders should realise that they should stop doing things, Mr. Chandaragi said.
A year ago, then Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had announced that he had received representations from residents of 40 villages in Jat taluk seeking a merger into Karnataka. He had also claimed that some gram panchayats had passed resolutions to that effect. Later, however, it was found that while some residents had made this demand, no resolutions were passed.