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Maha minister says Karnataka CM’s claims about border disputes should not be taken seriously

Maharashtra’s cabinet minister Shambhuraj Desai said on Wednesday that the allegations made by Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai about the border dispute between the two states should not be taken seriously.

Bommai claimed on Tuesday that panchayats in Jat taluka of Maharashtra had in the past passed a resolution to merge with Karnataka amid a severe drought situation and acute drinking water crisis, and his government has developed plans to help them by providing water. The national government is seriously considering this.

The CM of Karnataka also said that his government has decided to give special grants to Kannada secondary schools in Maharashtra and also pension to Kannadigas in the neighboring state who fought for the unification of the state.

On Monday, Bommai said he has formed a formidable legal team of senior lawyers from the Supreme Court and Karnataka to handle the border driving case when it comes before the apex court.

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday appointed cabinet members Chandrakant Patil and Shambhuraj Desai as chief ministers to coordinate the Karnataka border dispute trial with the legal team.

Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, Desai said, “Now that Maharashtra has reassembled its team to take the Karnataka border dispute to the Supreme Court, Bommai has come up with a ridiculously old demand. It should not be taken seriously. The villages in Jat tehsil (of Sangli district) reportedly passed a resolution over a decade ago to put pressure on the then state government to meet their demand for water supply for irrigation of the Krishna River.

However, there is no official documentation or resolution (from those villages) available from the Maharashtra government passed several years ago, he said.

“According to my information, the government of Maharashtra has already approved a proposal to supply water for irrigation to the arid areas of Jat tehsil in Sangli. The cost of the project is about Rs 1,200 crore. A technical review of the project is underway. It means those villages will definitely get water from Maharashtra,” Desai said.

Since its establishment in 1960, Maharashtra has been embroiled in a dispute with Karnataka over the status of Belgaum (also called Belagavi) district and 80 other Marathi-speaking villages, which are currently part of the southern state. Maharashtra has claimed the Marathi speaking areas and the case is pending in the Supreme Court.

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