Karnataka DyCM Shivakumar wants Kanakapura back in Bengaluru district, HD Kumaraswamy sees ploy

Addressing an event at Shivanahalli, DK Shivakumar said Kanakapura taluk in Ramanagara will be merged with Bengaluru district.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Oct 24, 2023 | 10:07 PMUpdatedOct 24, 2023 | 10:07 PM

Shivakumar urged the people of Kanakapura not to sell their land.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar on Tuesday, 24 October, announced that Kanakapura in the Ramanagara district will be merged with Bengaluru.

The Congress leader’s statement ran into immediate resistance with JD(S) state president and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy accusing Shivakumar of trying to raise the land value since he owned large swathes of in the area.

“I am telling on Vijayadashmi day that Kanakapura will be added to Bengaluru. He (Kumaraswamy) created Ramanagara district to make a name for himself. People from Kanakapura are from Bengaluru district,” the deputy chief minister said.

Shivakumar, who holds the Bengaluru Development portfolio, emphasised that Kanakapura should be aligned with Bengaluru rather than being associated with the Ramanagara district.

The Kanakapura taluk, historically part of the Bengaluru rural district and later integrated into Ramanagara in 2007, holds strategic and socio-economic importance in the region.

Known for its economic contributions as the largest silk-producing taluk in India and a leader in granite production in Karnataka, Kanakapura boasts a unique blend of industries.

Shivakumar has been representing Kanakapura in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly since 2008.

Also read: How 21 hamlets of Ramanagara in Karnataka earned the title of ‘tobacco-free villages’

Don’t sell land: Shivakumar

Speaking after the bhumi puja (ground-breaking ceremony) of the Veerabhadra Swamy Temple at Shivanahalli, Shivakumar urged the people not to sell their land to Bengalureans at any cost.

“Shivanahalli is located next to the highway. Do not sell land to Bangaloreans. There is the KMF (Karnataka Milk Federation) dairy, Kanakapura town will grow till here. So, I appeal to everyone, don’t sell the land,” he said.

The deputy chief minister further said that God has now given the people the power to increase the value of their properties tenfold. “You can educate your children and grandchildren,” he said.

“Keep in mind that people from Kanakapura are not from Ramanagara district. They are from Bengaluru district,” Shivakumar argued.

“We are not going to discuss making Kanakapura the district headquarters in public,” Shivakumar said, giving a hint that a new district might be formed.

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Kumaraswamy opposes bifurcation 

Soon after Shivakumar’s statement, Kumaraswamy launched a broadside against the deputy chief minister. He accused the Congress leader of having ulterior motives.

“The statement given by DyCM DK Shivakumar that Kanakapura taluk will be separated from Ramanagara district and added to Bangalore is not correct,” he said on X.

“They have started this new drama with the sole evil intention of increasing the value of their properties around Kanakapura,” he alleged.

Referring to Shivakumar’s statement that the people of Kanakapura were not from Ramanagara district but from Bengaluru, Kumaraswamy said it amounted to betraying Ramanagara and its people.

“He is the one who says that I can’t directly put money in your pocket, I can’t build a house for you; What did you do as MLA, minister, and deputy chief minister? They just filled their pockets and saved their house,” the JD(S) leader said.

“Whose properties are around Kanakapura? How many of them are (under) benami (names)? Where is the illegal fence? The drama is to regularise all those irregularities,” he further alleged.

“Kanakapura is 52 km from Bengaluru and Ramanagara is only 25 km away. Which place benefits the people? Should people from Kanakapura travel to Bengaluru daily? Many doubts naturally arise about the hidden motive of the deputy chief minister,” Kumaraswamy said.

Kanakapura: The Silk Valley

The Kanakapura taluk stands out as a region of significant importance. The taluk was initially part of the Bangalore rural district but became part of Ramanagara district when it was formed on 23 August 2007.

It comprises six hobalis: Kasaba Town, Doddamaralawadi, Harohalli, Uyyamballi, Sathanur, and Kodihalli. The taluk exhibits administrative diversity, contributing to its overall significance.

The taluk is located on the banks of the Arkavati river. It boasts of a diverse and rich geographical landscape, making it a distinctive taluk in the region. One of the largest silk-producing areas in India, Kanakapura has earned the moniker, “Silk Valley.”

Moreover, it holds the esteemed recognition as the granite capital of Karnataka. This dual distinction highlights the economic significance of Kanakapura in both the textile and mining industries.

Geographically, Kanakapura taluk is characterised by an abundance of forested areas. Nearly half of the renowned Bannerghatta National Park, a significant wildlife sanctuary, is in the taluk. The park encompasses Kodihalli and Harohalli wildlife zones.

Additionally, Kanakapura is host to two crucial zones of the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, Sangam and Muggur wildlife zones.

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Kumaraswamy recalls development works 

Kumaraswamy recalled the development works he had carried out in Ramanagara during his tenure as the chief minister.

“I initiated plans for the construction of a double road and a bridge at the Kanakapur gate. This strategic development was aimed at addressing the dangers posed by floods in Sangam. At the time, individuals had to resort to tying ropes for crossing roads during floods, leading to fatalities,” he said.

“Despite the pressing need for a bridge, Deputy Chief Minister Shivakumar opposed the project, particularly the construction of the bridge for easy access to Mahadeshwara Hill in 2006,” he recalled.

“Fast forward to the present, and discussions are on about merging Kanakapura with the Bengaluru district. This proposed move raises concerns, particularly in light of past opposition to critical infrastructure projects,” he said.

“The insinuation is that while lives may have been lost in the floods, the priority now seems to be facilitating the smooth operation of real estate ventures,” he alleged.

“It’s pertinent to note that my administration did not propose extravagant plans such as digging a tunnel from Bengaluru to Kanakapura. Instead, our focus remained on pragmatic and merit-based solutions,” Kumaraswamy said.

He categorically stated that the bifurcation of Ramanagara would be allowed. “People of the four assembly constituencies, including Kanakapura, will stay together in one district,” he added.