New Version - Divide and Loot?

August 27, 2022

Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.” – Henry Ford (1863-1947) American industrialist best known for Ford Motor Company.

An earlier version of this was/is divide and rule associated with empire-builders, starting with East India Company and ending with the British Empire, including India which ended for Indians with Independence in 1947.

Then began the carving out of States, districts and taluks. With advances in transport like bridging rivers, expansion of railways, motorized vehicles, communications advances leading up to internet, mobiles, etc., there should have consolidation of administration with merger of districts and taluks. But the movement is in the opposite direction of clamour for and carving up of new districts and taluks as reflected in the following news item in the print media dated 24/8/22.

Seven districts set to complete 25 years of existence

Seven districts in Karnataka will complete 25 years of existence on August 25, but not all will celebrate the special day. Chief minister J H Patel had carved out all seven from other bigger districts in 1997, but only Udupi and Davanagere are gearing up for celebrations, while Bagalkot, Koppal and Gadag had not made any announcements. Chamarajanagar celebrated its silver jubilee in advance – to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Independence – while Haveri could defer celebrations.

Bagalkot was split from Bijapur (now Vijayapura), Chamarajanagar from Mysuru, Gadag and Haveri from Dharwad, Koppal from Raichur, Udupi from Dakshina Kannada, and Davanagere from parts of Chitradurga, Shivamogga and Ballari.

A senior official from the revenue department said these seven were the first new districts formed after reorganization of states in 1956. “It was the only time new districts were created rationally considering distance, geography, population, and administrative constraints,” the official said.

But some current and former IAS officials, who were deputed as deputy commissioners in these districts, suggest the whole aim of creating new districts has not been realized. They say people had expected a leap in infrastructure development, economic growth, and improvement in the human development index, besides easy access to administrative offices. However 25 years later, barring Udupi and Davanagere, the other five districts are languishing.

“Koppal, Haveri and Gadag have been lagging significantly in terms of development and human index growth,” said MS Korishettar, president, Akhil Bharat Veerashaiva Mahasabha. “People are still struggling to get basic amenities like roads, drinking water and power. The districts have also not seen any major progress in industry and irrigation, leading to poverty and backwardness.”

Similar is the situation in the newly carved out taluks under districts. If people see no progress, who benefited from this divisive movement. Could there be a hidden agenda?

At the State level there hue and cry about kickbacks in contracts, including one about 40% kickbacks from contractors. Is it possible that at the district/ taluk levels kickbacks do not attract much publicity which is a reward for those agitating for and realizing more subdivisions like?

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is invited in the format given below.


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By John B Monteiro
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