A delegation of eminent citizens of Dharwad met Bommai at his residence in Hubballi during his visit to the city on Sunday and submitted a memorandum seeking bifurcation of HDMC. Bommai said Dharwad deserves to be freed from the HDMC and the government is actively considering the demand.
Convener of the Action Committee for Separate Municipal Corporation for Dharwad Manoj Patil told TOI that the chief minister was receptive to the demand and his statement has boosted the citizens’ hopes.
The demand for a separate municipal corporation for Dharwad is getting louder as the city, despite being the district head quarter, has received a raw deal as far as development under the HDMC schemes are concerned.
The HDMC was constituted by the government in 1962 and all the councillors were nominated. Giriyappa Nalawadi of Dharwad was the first mayor. The formation of a municipal corporation for twin cities was without a demand from people in Hubballi or Dharwad.
With Hubballi having more number of wards when compared to the number of wards in Dharwad, major part of the funds were being allotted to development works in Hubballi. Now there are 82 wards in HDMC and of them 28 are in Dharwad division and 54 in Hubballi division.
Dharwad has always been discriminated against when taking up development works and all the projects of HDMC have been Hubballi-centric, said Manoj Patil.
HDMC commissioner, mayor and deputy mayor visit Dharwad only twice a week, and that too for a few minutes. They often skip visiting HDMC office in Dharwad citing some meeting at the DC’s office or the minister’s visit as the reason. The staff strength at Dharwad office has also been reduced forcing people to go to Hubballi for works related to HDMC.
Under the Smart City project no funds are allocated to Dharwad and all the works are pertaining to Hubballi. There was a plan to construct a flyover from Kalghatagi toll naka to Alur Venkatrao Circle in Dharwad to ease traffic congestion and that has been shelved while the work on flyover construction at Rani Channamma Circle has commenced. Since former CM Jagadish Shettar and Union minister Prahlad Joshi are from Hubballi, focus is more on Hubballi. Dharwad lacks political leadership, said businessman Lalit Bhandari.
The citizens have demanded a white paper on the development works done in both Dharwad and Hubballi by the HDMC since 1962.
For a city to be eligible to have a municipal corporation it should have a population of three lakh and Dharwad already has a population of 5.5 lakh. By having a separate municipal corporation, Dharwad will get an annual special grant of Rs 100 crore for development and Hubballi will be relieved of sparing the money in the grants allotted to it, the committee said in the memorandum which has been signed by eminent writers, artists, academicians and businessmen.