Call for separate Kutch state ups before elections
The call to form a separate Kutch state has upped in the lead up to the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat.
The Kutch has 24% of the land in Gujarat but the state government hasn't kept its promise to provide even the stated share of Narmada waters. It uses only 7% of waters drawn from partially built reservoir, wasting 93% to the sea, say the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists.
The Kutch Rajya Sankalp Samiti (KRSS) states the cultural differences and geographical distance of Kutch from the Gujarat's state capital of Gandhinagar of about 400 km as one of the key reasons for Kutch being neglected for development, which presses the call for a separate Kutch state.
Advocates of a separate Kutch state report that the Kutch district pays taxes to the tune of over Rs 600 crore to the Gujarat state government which in turns only spends Rs 200 crore on Kutch.
Also the autonomous development board under Article 371(2) of the Constitution which was promised in 1960 could never come into existence due to lack of political will.
According to the royal family of Kutch, at the time of integration of the princely state with India in 1947, the accession was done on the condition that Kutch would retain the status of a separate state. It enjoyed this status till 1960, when a separate state of Gujarat was carved out of Maharashtra and Kutch was merged with it.
"Kutchis have rightly approached the Supreme Court against the unjustifiably small share. It's what we had anticipated – both the people in the Narmada valley and in Kutch, at two extremes, would be deprived by the 'power'ful central Gujarat. Its high time Sardar Sarovar had a re-look at, not only from the perspective of the displaced, but also the drought affected, yet cheated, 'planned beneficiaries', upholding their right to distributive justice" says NBA activists.
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