A day after 11 gram panchayats in Akkalkot taluka of Maharashtra’s Solapur district passed resolutions to merge with Karnataka, some village panchayats have backtracked, saying they now want to stay with Maharashtra.
The change of heart apparently took place after BJP’s Akkalkot MLA Sachin Kalyanshetti held a meeting with the sarpanches of some of the gram panchayats seeking to move. “Except two gram panchayats, none want to merge with Karnataka state,” Kalyanshetti told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
The MLA said he held a meeting with sarpanches of most of the gram panchayats and promised to redress their grievances. “The main grouse is regarding basic amenities and that primarily relates to the poor state of roads. The road-laying and repair work is already underway and all the villagers will soon have good roads,” Kalyanshetti said.
The MLA claimed that most of the sarpanches were convinced that they would soon get all the basic amenities in their villages. “I told them that their primary grouse regarding good roads has already been taken up on a priority basis. Besides, water for agriculture from Ujani dam will be made available. Health care of villagers is also being taken up in all earnest,” he said.
Tensions have been running high along the border villages of Karnataka and Maharashtra with politicians on both sides making controversial remarks, igniting a decades-old border dispute.
Mantus Hature, sarpanch of Aglaegaon, one of the 11 village panchayats that wanted to merge with Karnataka, said, “I was one of the sarpanches who submitted a copy of the resolution passed at our gram panchayat meeting for merging with Karnataka. We want to join Karnataka state as the Maharashtra government has failed to provide us with basic amenities like good roads, electricity, drainage system and a market for our farm produce. Since the government has neglected us, we have all been suffering and therefore we feel merging with Karnataka state will ensure justice for us,” he said.
Vickey Ishwarkatti, sarpanch of Kalkarjal, said, “We had a problem regarding basic amenities in our village. But the MLA held a meeting with us yesterday and has promised to resolve all our grievances. We do not have any intention to merge with Karnataka.”
Ishwarkatti said their gram panchayat had proposed to pass the resolution for merging with Karnataka state. “We had proposed such a resolution but have now decided to withdraw the step. We have now realised that the road work in our area has already been approved and the road will soon be completed. Importantly for us, the MLA has promised that he will take up the issue of getting Ujani dam water for agricultural purposes for our village,” he said.
Mahadev Mudave, sarpanch of Kegaon Khurd, also spoke in favour of sticking with Maharashtra. “The state of roads in our village was poor but now the work has been taken up. Our MLA Kalyanshetti has promised to redress all our grievances,” he said.
Basavraj B, sarpanch of Kegaon Budruk, denied that they passed a resolution to move to Karnataka. “We have not passed any such resolution…We believe in our MLA who will take care of our demands for better infrastructure,” he said.
MLA Kalyanshetti said it seems that some villagers had hit upon the idea that if they create such a noise, the government will sanction a package for Akkalkot taluka. “Since the state government has announced a package for Jath taluka of Sangli after the villagers there raised their voices for merging with Karnataka, some people in our taluka also seem to have hit upon this idea. And that was where the idea of creating noise about the resolution emerged,” he said.