Maharashtra cabinet minister Shambhuraj Desai on Wednesday said Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s claims over the border dispute between the two states should not be taken seriously.
Bommai on Tuesday claimed that panchayats in Jat taluka of Maharashtra had passed a resolution in the past to merge with Karnataka when there was a severe drought situation and acute drinking water crisis, and his government has evolved schemes to help them by providing water. The state government is seriously considering it.
The Karnataka CM also said his government has decided to give special grants to Kannada medium schools in Maharashtra and also pension to Kannadigas in the neighbouring state who fought for the unification of the state.
On Monday, Bommai said he has formed a formidable legal team of senior lawyers from the Supreme Court and Karnataka to deal with the border row case when it comes up before the apex court.
The Maharashtra government on Tuesday appointed cabinet members Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai as nodal ministers to coordinate with the legal team regarding the court case on the border dispute with Karnataka.
Talking to reporters here on Wednesday, Desai said, “As Maharashtra has reconstituted its team to take forward the Karnataka border dispute in the Supreme Court, Bommai has come up with some ridiculous old demand. It should not be taken seriously. The villages in Jat tehsil (of Sangli district) had reportedly passed a resolution more than a decade back to pressurise the then state government to address their demand of water supply for irrigation from the Krishna river."
However, there is no such official documentation or resolution (of those villages) available with the Maharashtra government which was passed some years back, he said.
“As per my information, the Maharashtra government has already cleared a proposal to supply water for irrigation to the arid regions of Jat tehsil in Sangli. The cost of the project is around Rs 1,200 crore. A technical scrutiny of the project is underway. It means those villages will definitely get water from Maharashtra,” Desai said.
Maharashtra, since its inception in 1960, has been locked in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (also called Belagavi) district and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages, which are currently part of the southern state. Maharashtra has staked claim over the Marathi-speaking areas and the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.
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