A group of villagers in Jat taluka in Maharashtra’s Sangli district shouted slogans in favour Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and displayed its flags alleging that water, education and healthcare had been neglected for decades.
Maharashtra and Karnataka are in the midst of a renewed verbal tussle on the border issue after Bommai claimed Jat taluka and some “Kannada-speaking” areas of Akkalkot and Solapur for his state.
Residents of Tikondi village in Jat taluka, on the border with Karnataka, said they held the rally on Saturday to express disappointment with Maharashtra authorities for not providing them water and not developing health and education facilities.
They said the Karnataka border was located just three kilometres away, while children go to colleges in Bijapur in the neighbouring state, which is 25 kilometres away.
“We have been facing water issues in more than 40 villages. We have been promised water from Mhaisal project. However, even after four decades, we have not received water,” said Somling Chaudhary, one of the residents who took part in the rally.
“There is acute lack of amenities in 40 villages in Jat. We have a school from Class I to IV, but there is only one teacher. There are no doctors in medical facilities here. Just 10-15 per cent people in the village have Marathi as their native language. However, even they don’t speak the language,” Chaudhary claimed.
A Marathi medium school was opened recently, while a Kannada medium school existed for a long time, he said.
“On Saturday, residents of the village waved the flags of Karnataka state and supported CM Basavraj Bommai and put up a banner with his photo at the main arch of the village. If all the facilities, including water, is provided to us by the Maharashtra government, why would we insist to go there (Karnataka state),” he asked.
A resident said people are ready to get a resolution passed in the gram panchayat to get the village merged into Karnataka.
Mahadev Hadimani, whose wife is the sarpanch of the village, said people of 42 villages are angry as no water being provided to these villages from Mhaisal project.
“There is a water project near Bijapur (in Karnataka) from where some bordering villages in Jath tehsil get water when requested. So the overall sentiment among the locals here is if the Maharashtra government is not able to provide water for all these years, let them go to Karnataka, which at least gives water through canals on request,” Hadimani said.
The banner, picture of Bommai were removed by police, he claimed.
When contacted, Sangli Collector Raja Dayanidhi said the banner put up at the arch of the village was removed by the district administration.
When asked if he has spoken to the residents of the village, he said he hadn’t, adding local level officials may have spoken to them.
Meanwhile Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai ,told ANI, I’ll be leaving for Delhi today and will be meeting BJP chief JP Nadda, he has still not given an appointment but I’m confident we’ll meet him. We’ll also be meeting lawyer Mukul Rohatgi to discuss the (Karnataka-Maharashtra) border issue and will later meet Piyush Goyal.