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GREENER PASTURES: NASHIK, NANDED VILLAGERS TO LEAVE MAHARASHTRA?

Mumbai: The resurgence of the Maharashtra-Karnataka border row seems to have spurred dissidents in other border districts to action. Several villages in Nanded have reiterated their demand to be merged with Telangana, while the northern Nashik district wants to leave Maharashtra for Gujarat. Chintaman Gavit, chief of the Nationalist Congress Party’s unit in Nashik’s Surgana taluka, attributes this to the “apathy” of the Maharashtra government, which has led to a lack of development in the area. “Even after 75 years of Independence, many villages and hamlets in Surgana taluka do not have basic amenities. If you cannot develop these villages, merge them with Gujarat,” Gavit said on Friday, adding that he had presented a memorandum to this effect to tehsildar Sachin Mulik on November 30.

While this follows close on the heels of Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s claim that villages in Maharashtra’s Jat tehsil in wanted to merge with his state, Gavit insists the move is not political. Meanwhile, residents of 25 villages in the border district of Nanded have renewed an old demand to be allowed to merge with Telangana. Baburao Kadam, a former sarpanch of the Babdi Bandhara village (7km from the border) who had led a drive of 40 villages to pass a resolution to merge with Telangana, claims the neighbouring state does more for residents in the area than Maharashtra. “The Maharashtra government is yet to give us decent roads. On the other hand, farmers in Telangana get free seeds, and government also gives round-the-clock power supply and compulsory MSP implementation,” he said. Back in Nashik, Gavit further laments the lack of basic infrastructure such as irrigation and healthcare. In border areas of Gujarat, there are good roads, reliable electricity supply, and better health, water and transport facilities, he claimed. He also received phone calls from people in Dhadgaon and Navapur in Nandurbar who endorsed the demand of inclusion in Gujarat, Gavit claimed. Border areas of Nashik and Nandurbar districts are predominantly tribal. “We have convened a meeting at Pangarne village on December 04 to decide the next course of action," he said.

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