Maharashtra rejigs 14-member panel for border row with Karnataka

Mumbai: A fortnight after the Governors of Maharashtra and Karnataka met, the Maharashtra government has recast its all-party 14-member high power committee (HPC) on the old boundary row affecting the two states, officials said here on Saturday.

The HPC headed by Chief Minister Eknath Shinde comprises Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis, Union minister Narayan Rane, and ministers Chandrakant Patil, Suresh Khade, Tanaji Swant, Ravindra Chavan, Deepak Kesarkar, Shambhuraj Desai from the ruling Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Also included are former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar and NCP’s Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly Ajit Pawar, Leader of Opposition in Council Ambadas Danve of Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress’ former CM Prithviraj Chavan, and others.

The HCP has been entrusted with determining the future course to resolve the long-delayed border dispute and take necessary decision and action in the matter, as per a notification.

Established in May 2000, earlier the HPC was revamped in May 2014, June 2014, March 2015, September 2020, and has been done for the fifth time now after the change of government in the state last June.

Maharashtra has laid a claim over some 7,000 sq km area along the border with Karnataka comprising 814 predominantly Marathi-speaking villages in Belgaum, Uttara Kannada, Bidar and Gulbarga and the towns of Belagavi, Karwar and Nippani.

The row started in 1956 during the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines with Maharashtra wanting these areas to be merged in the state, even as the Centre set up a Mahajan Commission in 1966 to resolve the dispute.

The panel, headed by former Chief Justice of India, M.C. Mahajan, with representatives from both the states had, among other things, recommended transfer of 264 border villages to Maharashtra, but kept Belgaum and 247 other villages with Karnataka.

Though Karnataka had welcomed the move, Maharashtra rejected the recommendations terming them as ‘biased’ and ‘illogical’, and the dispute continues to simmer.

-IANS

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