Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has reconstituted the 14-member High Power Committee (HPC), headed by the Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde, on the Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Dispute.
The members of the committee include union minister Narayan Rane, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, former union minister Sharad Pawar, former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Higher and Technical Education Minister Chandrakant Patil, Labour Minister Suresh Khade, Public Health Minister Tanaji Sawant, Public Work Minister Ravindra Chavan, School Education Minister Deepak Kesarkar, Excise Minister Shambhuraj Desai, former legislator Rajendra Kshirsagar, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Ajit Pawar and Leader of Opposition in the state council Ambadas Danve.
HPC will have the mandate to decide the future course of action
According to a government resolution, General Administration Department Deputy Secretary JJ Valvi stated that the HPC will be tasked with determining the future course of action for the resolution of a long-pending Maharashtra-Karnataka Border Dispute and making the necessary decisions.
The HPC was earlier established in May 2000, and later it was reconstituted in May 2014, June 2014, March 2015, and September 2020, all under the leadership of the former Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray. The reconstitution of the HPC was necessitated following the change in government in the state on June 30 of this year.
Maharashtra stakes claims on 7,000 sq km area near Karnataka border
Maharashtra has staked claim to over 7,000 sq kilometres along its border with Karnataka. This comprises 814 villages in the districts of Belagavi (Belgaum), Uttara Kannada, Bidar, and Gulbarga, and the towns of Belagavi, Karwar, and Nippani.
All these areas are predominantly Marathi-speaking. Maharashtra wants them to be merged with the state. The genesis of the dispute lies in the year 1956 reorganisation of states alongwith linguistic and administrative lines.
The Center had set up the Mahajan Commission in October 1966 to look into the border dispute. It had made a recommendation to transfer 264 villages to Maharashtra, while Belgaum and 247 villages were to remain in Karnataka. Maharashtra strongly rejected the report, terming it biassed and illogical, but Karnataka welcomed it.