The Karnataka Cabinet on Friday accorded formal approval to division of the iron ore-rich Ballari district of Karnataka into two districts with creation of Vijayanagara as the state’s 31st district.
“We have identified six taluks for the new Vijaynagara district and are issuing a notification for creation of a new district. Out of 11 taluks in Ballari, six will be part of the new district — Hospet will be the district headquarters. We will call for objections, and after that final orders will be issued,” state Law Minister J C Madhuswamy said after the Cabinet meeting.
The move “is a dream come true” and a “historical decision’”, said state Forest Minister Anand Singh, who as MLA from Hospet has been pushing for creation of the separate district. The move has been opposed by Ballari MLA Somashekhar Reddy, part of the Reddy brothers’ group that controlled the region in the past.
Singh has said that carving out a separate district will help promote tourism to places such as Hampi, near Hospet, and overall development of the six taluks, as Ballari district is spread over a large region.
The move to create the new district was cleared after it received support of SC and ST Minister B Sreeramulu, who represents Ballari Rural in the Assembly and is considered a close associate of the Reddy brothers.
A similar attempt had failed last year after the Reddy brothers threatened withdrawal of support to the B S Yediyurappa government, which then had a thin majority. The BJP now has a clear majority in the Assembly, and Somashekhar is the lone voice in the party opposing Ballari’s bifurcation.
The move is widely seen as an attempt to wrest control of the minerals-rich region from the hold of the Reddy brother.
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