Katti stands by his statement, says small states are the future

Katti stands by his statement, says small states are the future

Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti said on Sunday that his statement on statehood for North Karnataka was blown out of proportion.

Speaking to reporters, the minister said he stood by the statement. Katti said the development of Karnataka has always been Bangalore-centric, while other regions in the State, especially North Karnataka, have been allowed to wallow in backwardness.

“Now, small states are considered models for effective governance and development. By 2020, based on the country’s population there will be 50 states. In such a scenario, I advocate statehood for North Karnataka,” he said.

“People of the region have received the call for statehood well, as it will help realise their aspirations for growth,” he added.

Unlike Bangalore and surrounding districts that witnessed large scale development, the districts in North Karnataka are marred by underdevelopment. With neither industries nor other sources of employment, people are forced to migrate to Bangalore and others cities in search of livelihood, Katti said.

“People from the North Karnataka region, including my family members, have participated in the State’s unification movement. We are not anti-Kannadigas. In the light of new developments, however, small states seem to be a feasible option. Also it would pave the way for development in the most backward regions of the State,” he stated.

“The World Kannada Conference held in Belgaum, in which more than 30 lakh people including the Marathi-speaking population participated and the Suvarna Vidhana Soudha was inaugurated, shows that Belgaum is a part of Karnataka,” he said.

The minister noted that the struggle for including border areas of the State having Marathi -speaking population in Maharashtra has died down.

“The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti does not have any legislator in the State Assembly. Also candidates who are emerging victorious from the Assembly constituencies in Belgaum taluk show that Marathi-speaking population too is for development.”