Cash-Strapped Maharashtra Govts move likely to Counter Kannada Influence in area
The state government has approved as many as 101 aided schools
in the state, something it has not done for quite some time as it did not have funds
to set up schools. But the fact that around 88 of the 101 primary schools
will be in areas bordering Karnataka, where there are already 88 aided Kannada medium
schools and where the Kannada-Marathi language issue has been festering for some
time, gives an indication the approval may have to do more with interstate politics
than anything else. Officials claim the decision, by the states cabinet on Wednesday,
was taken because the areas bordering Karnataka do not have Marathi-medium schools.
The government’s hand, perhaps, has been forced by the emotive language issue and
the dispute over Belgaum as it does not want to cede any influence to Karnataka
in the border zone. The state is all set to woo the Marathi vote bank in these areas.
Most schools are in the Sangli district and importantly in Jat taluka. The taluka
became a part of Maharashtra during the formation of the state and most of the population
there still is Kannada-speaking. The state in the past was criticised by the opposition
for not setting up Marathi schools.
An official said, the remaining 13 schools will be set up in the border areas of
Madhya Pradesh. The state has been liberal in allowing Kannada aided schools in
the Karnataka border region, however, there are Marathi-speaking people in the area,
who do not have any option. There has been demand from the locals for some time.
Another official said there are few or no aided Marathi schools in Belguam and Dharwad,
which are in Karnataka for the majority Marathi speaking people.
These new schools in Maharashtra will be run by Zilla Parishad. Around Rs. 18 crores
might be set aside for these schools in the first year. The Maharashtra-Karnataka
border row has been simmering for decades. After the Independence, Belgaum district
(which was in the erstwhile Bombay Presidency) became a part of the Bombay State.
But, in 1956, the district, which is at the centre of the row, was incorporated into
the new Mysore state (now Karnataka) with the passage of States Reorganisation Act.
Courtesy: Times of India