Karnataka: People in border taluks vulnerable to `cultural assault,'

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Sun Oct 29 13:23:09 UTC 2006

Date:28/10/2006 URL:
Karnataka - Bangalore

Economic, cultural package sought for border taluks

Staff Reporter

People there are vulnerable to `cultural assault,' says `Mukhyamantri'

Appoint Cabinet-rank Minister for Kannada and Culture
Give incentives for industries set up in border areas

BANGALORE: The State Government must draw up a special economic, social
and cultural package for the 52 taluks on the borders of the State, post
Kannadiga officials to these places and give them incentives to ensure
that everything is done to make the people of these areas feel secure and
that the State Government responds to their needs, the Bharatiya Janata
Party MLC `Mukhyamantri' Chandru has said. Speaking to presspersons after
a three-week `jagruthi jatha' organised by eminent writers, intellectuals,
academics and cultural activist in these areas, Mr. Chandru said the
awareness programme, which saw a dialogue between Kannadigas living in
these areas and the organisers, brought out several startling revelations
that needed to be addressed immediately.

"Otherwise, there is the possibility of these people feeling abandoned and
that will make them vulnerable to `cultural assault' from the neighbouring
States, which are trying to stake claims to different parts of the State,"
Mr. Chandru said. The activists found that Kannada-medium schools in these
taluks were without teachers and infrastructure. If Kolar was slowly
accommodating Telugu influences and jettisoning its Kannada connections in
terms of music and the arts, in Raichur, poor people were working as farm
labourers on land they once owned, now sold to affluent buyers from Andhra
Pradesh, he said.

In Kodagu, Kerala was laying claim to hundreds of acres of forest land,
while Tamil Nadu had hit upon a clever method to wean people away from
Karnataka through accelerated industrial development in border areas, like
Hosur, where people were given jobs only if they learned the local
language. Mr. Chandru demanded that apart from making the legislature
session in Belgaum an annual affair, the Government should complete the
construction of a Vikasa Soudha there within a year. The Government should
recognise the importance of the Kannada and Culture Department and
immediately appoint a Cabinet-rank Minister exclusively for this
department. The Government should take steps to implement the Kannada
language policy, especially in administration, and punish those who
violate this rule.

Industrial decentralisation should be immediately initiated and incentives
given to those setting up industries in the border areas, he said. The
former Minister B.T. Lalitha Naik, who is also a writer, and had taken
part in the jatha, said it was tragic that people of Pavagada in Tumkur
district were being identified by their fluorosis-ravaged bodies and not
for their achievements in various fields. "Everywhere we went, people
wanted schools, clean water and food security. Neither Karnataka nor the
bordering State (Andhra Pradesh) wants to do anything for them," she said.


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