Will the new government keep its promise on special status?

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haidarabad karnatakaGULBARGA: One of the first major tasks before Chief Minister-designate Siddaramaiah is that of framing the rules for the implementation of Article 371(J), which provides special status to Hyderabad Karnataka. This will fulfil one of the promises made to the people of the State in the party’s manifesto during the election campaign.

The State will have to complete the process of preparing the rules for the implementation of Article 371, and also fix the quantum of reservation for opportunities in education and employment for the people in the six districts of Hyderabad Karnataka: Gulbarga, Bidar, Yadgir, Bellary, Raichur and Koppal. This will also include the constitution of an area development board which would have statutory powers.

Later, the framed rules would have to be placed before both houses of the Assembly for approval. The approved rules will then be sent to the President of India for his assent.

The new government would also have to take a decision on whether to reconstitute the existing Hyderabad Karnataka Area Development Board and give it additional statutory powers.

Another important decision before the government is to consider the funds to be allocated to the area development board.

It also remains to be seen whether the new Chief Miniswill be successful in persuading UPA-led government at the Centre to release special funds for the area development board. However, a draft in this regard was prepared by the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms a few weeks before the elections were announced, and submitted to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar for his consideration. The status of this draft is still unknown.

Another important issue pertaining to Hyderabad Karnataka, particularly Gulbarga and Bidar districts, is that of the completion of irrigation projects: the Bennethora project in Gulbarga and the Karanja project in Bidar, both of which have been pending for the past four decades.

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