Cost prevents formation of new taluks

Only Kittur will get the status for historical reasons, says Eshwarappa

Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa has ruled out forming any new taluk in Karnataka, except Kittur at present, as recommended by a committee headed by retired IAS officer M B Prakash.

Kittur is a historically significant place in Belgaum district.A government order will soon be issued declaring Kittur as a taluk.

The Prakash committee report, submitted to the government in 2009, had recommended that 43 new taluks be formed (the State presently has 176 taluks). The State Cabinet has already cleared the proposal in this regard.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had announced last Thursday that Yelahanka in Bangalore would become a new taluk. But Eshwarappa, who is also the Revenue Minister, is not in favour of forming any more taluks as it would require huge funds.

According to an estimate, if the Prakash panel report is implemented and 42 new taluks are formed, not less than Rs 1,075 crore will be the additional burden on the exchequer.

When Deccan Herald asked Eshwarappa whether Yelahanka would get the status of a taluk, he replied in the negative.

“At any cost, except Kittur, no other taluk will be formed. I have no idea on what basis the chief minister announced Yelahanka will become a taluk. But we are not for it,” he said.

Are financial constraints posing a problem to the revenue department in carving out new taluks? Eshwarappa admitted that more taluks would bring in more benefits for the people as the administration gets decentralised. But, at the same time, it will lead to demands for more taluks

“In every district and taluk, there are demands by various groups or leaders to have more taluks. There is a demand for at least three more taluks in Shimoga district alone. If we form 40 taluks, there will be demand for 80. So, I do not want to invite trouble,” he said.

Kittur had to be given the taluk status due to historical reasons. But there are no compelling reasons to create more taluks, he said.

As per the Prakash committee report, a minimum of Rs 17.6 crore is required for the formation of a taluk.

Due to inflation in recent years, the cost may cross Rs 25 crore. Official sources said not less than Rs 1,075 crore is required to provide basic infrastructure facilities if 43 new taluks are formed. A taluk should have a ‘mini Vidhana Soudha,’ two tahsildars and officials of 42 departments.

In addition, housing quarters should be provided to senior officers of various departments, including the police. The salary itself may not be less than Rs three crore, as per the committee.

The Prakash committee has recommended formation of five new taluks in Bangalore – Yelahanka, Gandhinagar, Vijayanagar, Banashankari and KR Pura.
Hubli-Dharwad city in Dharwad district, Moodbidri and Mangalore in Dakshina Kannada district deserve taluk status, the report has said.

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