Panel wants new draft on H-K

Asks Centre to consult the State government in a weeks time

The draft Constitutional Amendment Bill providing special status to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region has not satisfied the BJP government in Karnataka.

Therefore, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has asked the Centre to draft a fresh one after consulting the State.

“The Karnataka government did not want a development board (for the region) to be supervised by the Governor, as proposed in the draft.

They also want a financial package from the Central government and special allocation from the Planning Commission for accelerated development of the region,” M Venkaiah Naidu, chairperson of the panel, said here.

Since the Governor is the supervisory authority for development board, Karnataka fears it may hamper the monitoring system and defeat the purpose of granting special status.
Responding to criticism by Karnataka Congress leaders, Naidu said the standing committee took the decision unanimously after hearing the views of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and the Union Home Secretary.

Last week, the House panel submitted its recommendation to withdraw the draft legislation for amending the Constitution (by inserting a new Section Article 371-J) to grant special status to the  Hyderabad-Karnataka region along the lines of special provisions made under Article 371D in respect of Andhra Pradesh.

The special status was to cover the districts of Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal, Yadgir and Bellary. These were  under the Hyderabad Nizam’s rule. But all of them fall in the State’s most backward region.

Since 1998, the Karnataka government has been seeking special status for this region on the lines of Telangana in Andhra Pradesh and Vidarbha  in Maharashtra. Interestingly, the first proposal was rejected by the NDA government in 2002 arguing that the conditions that led to creation of Telangana did not exist in Karnataka.

Subsequently, the State government formed a high-powered committee that reviewed issues concerning regional imbalance. Armed with this panel’s recommendation, the State government made a renewed attempt for special status in 2008. Both Houses in the Karnataka Legislature passed a resolution in 2010 demanding the special status.

“The State government wanted reservation in educational institutions as well as in government employment. The Centre should consult the State within the next one week and bring out fresh legislation,” Naidu said.

Giving an example of how fast the Centre could work if it wished so, the BJP leader said Tamil Nadu’s proposal to have a bicameral legislative body received the Cabinet approval on May 4, 2010, approval from both Houses in the next two days and Presidential assent within a week. The legislation was notified on May 18.

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