10 yrs on, CB Pur yet to fully reap benefits of development

10 yrs on, CB Pur yet to fully reap benefits of development

A visit to the “new” KSRTC bus stand illustrates the kind of development work taking place in Chikkaballapur, 10 years after it became a district.

The hi-tech bus stand, constructed in 2014 by pulling down a 130-year-old inspection bungalow, is yet to open. A KSRTC bus driver spoke proudly of the bus stand but said: “We park outside since the space inside has not been asphalted.”

The Chikkaballapur district was carved out of Kolar on August 23, 2007, by including Chikkaballapur, Gauribidanur, Shidlaghatta, Bagepalli, Gudibande and Chintamani taluks.

“Chikkaballapur achieved the political goal 10 years ago. We have an accessible and well-equipped district administration office with most government departments under one roof. People no longer have to run from pillar to post for their official work. Below the surface, on a social level, however, people have not been uplifted,” B Gangadharamurthy, a retired professor of English, told DH.

Ironically, some of the opposition to development has come from citizens, said the professor. “People objected to road-widening projects when they faced the loss of property.”

But the district administration has mostly overcome the problem. An example is the widening of NH 234 that passes through Gauribidanur, Chikkaballapur, Shidlaghatta and Chintamani taluks, that has been going on since 2013.

“The project involved the acquisition of agricultural land, causing problems for both farmers and sericulturists. In Chintamani’s MG Road, shop owners were in trouble when the NHAI issued them notices in 2012 over road-widening. The work also led to a rise in accidents,” said K Manjunath, a resident of Shidlaghatta.

Transport oscillates between good and unsatisfactory. The rural areas still have fewer bus services to the district headquarters.

A train linking Bengaluru and Kolar district, via Chikkaballapur, was introduced in November 2013 and eased travel a little, but the working class continues to struggle for quicker and cheaper travel options on a daily basis. In February 2013, the residents of Ambedkar Nagar ward in Chikkaballapur boycotted the City Municipal Council (CMC) elections, opposing the construction of a rail line passing through the ward.

The district still doesn't have enough public toilets. Shidlaghatta is the largest rearer of silkworms in Karnataka. There is a demand for better markets to support farmers. Chintamani is the second largest mango-producing taluk in the state, after Srinivaspur, which is in Kolar district.

Construction of a Red Cross blood bank at the district hospital in 2011 and opening of shelters for orphaned and abandoned children at district and taluk hospitals in 2014 are praiseworthy. But government hospitals still need better facilities and more staff. Another concern is that government doctors have been moving to private hospitals.

The district hasn't marketed itself as a tourist hub. “The Veerasoudha at Vidurashwatha in Gauribidanur taluk, Nandi Hills, Skandagiri Hills and Bhoganandishwara Temple in Chikkaballapur taluk, and Nareyana Tataiah Temple at Kaivara, Chintamani taluk, are well-known. Chikkaballapur also has forts in Gudibande taluk, like in Chitradurga district. But a few know about them,” said Ramakrishnappa, a resident of Shidlaghatta.

The district has over 1,500 primary schools and over 100 high schools. Devaraj M R, a high school teacher in Bagepalli, said: “Government schools have hardly seen any development since Chikkaballapur became a district. More schools have shut down due to negligence."

Educationist Prof Kodi Rangapa stressed the need for a government polytechnic in Chikkaballapur. “This will provide jobs, too. The MNREGA has been implemented efficiently, but industrial development is not up to the mark. Women do not have enough jobs,” he said. "The 100-acre science park in the name of Dr H Narasimhaiah in Gauribidanur will help develop scientific temper.”

Water supply is the biggest of Chikkaballapur's problems. Synonymous with drought, the district has pinned hopes on the Yettinahole drinking water project. At the same time, the government needs to work on improving water literacy and conservation.


Significance

The Kolar-Chikkaballapura District Co-operative Milk Producers Union Ltd (KOMUL) is Karnataka’s second highest milk producing organisation after KMF.

Shidlaghatta is the largest silk manufacturing taluk in Karnataka.

Chikkaballapur district had the second highest voter turnout (77%) in the state in Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

Chikkaballapur has a literacy rate of 64%.

 

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