State does U-turn on draft H-K bill

 Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Tuesday said the State Government has “unwillingly” accepted the draft Constitution amendment bill, which aims to provide special status to Hyderabad-Karnataka (H-K) region, in the existing format.

After a meeting with MPs from the State here, Shettar told reporters, “despite reservations over the current status of the Bill, the State government has agreed to accept it”.

Later, Shettar met Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and conveyed to him the State’s latest decision and, urged him to get the Bill passed in the current session of Parliament. The volte-face came after pressure from elected representatives, including those from the BJP, who demanded immediate passing of the Bill without any modifications.

The Karnataka government had earlier urged the Union home ministry to provide special status to H-K region on the lines of that given to Telangana. It had opposed the forming of H-K Development Board headed by Governor.

However, accepting the Bill in its current format is termed as a major setback to the State government in terms of administration in six  backward districts.

Once the Bill becomes an Act, the implementation of the development projects in Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Bellary and Yadgir districts will be shifted to Raj Bhavan from Vidhana Soudha.

Acoording to the provisions of the Bill, the H-K Development Board will be set up under the chairmanship of the Governor. He will have powers to appoint its members and, Raj Bhavan will function as its main secretariat.

The State government will have to just allot the funds to the Board, while the Governor decides on utilisation of funds and implementation of projects, sources in the Karnataka government told Deccan Herald.

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