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Ramanagara rename plan draws mixed response

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar has stirred up a hornet’s nest after he announced the government’s plan to rename Ramanagara district as ‘Bengaluru South’ to bank on the Brand Bengaluru to stimulate development in the region. The proposal has divided the district with residents of Ramanagara opposing the move while those in Kanakapura demanding a separate district for themselves.

On Thursday, DH correspondent visited Ramanagara, Channapatna and Kanakapura to understand the people’s sentiment in the wake of the government’s announcement to rename the district which was formed in 2007. Known as silk city, the region is known for sericulture with at least one person in the family either cultivating silkworms and working in factories.

Almost everyone DH spoke to in Ramanagara opposed the proposal to rename the district as they felt the region does not have any influence of Bengaluru. Some of them wondered what stops the government from attracting industries to Ramanagara by keeping the name intact. Many felt that the change of name would not bring any difference to their lives as long as the job opportunities go up and the kitchen expenses come down.

On the contrary, Kanakapura – which is 60 km away from Bengaluru – offered a mixed view with a large number of people demanding a separate district carrying the name ‘Bengaluru South’. They were happy to remain under Ramanagara district as long as the government does not merge Kanakapura with Bengaluru Urban or Rural district, which makes the distance to district headquarters quite difficult.

“Before Ramanagara district was formed, people in Kanakapura were traveling to Bengaluru as the district headquarter was near Majestic. If the deputy commissioner (DC) was unavailable, we had to travel again. Now, we go to the Ramanagara district office by spending just Rs 20 in a bus,” Pandu, a retired surveyor, said.

Rahil Mehti, a resident of Channapatna, was okay with the change of name if it helps in creating employment and attracting industries to the region. “Over 600 labourers wait here expecting they will be called for any sort of work every morning. Not all of them get the work on a daily basis. It is disheartening to see them go back without the work. Other than agriculture and sericulture, there are no jobs,” he said.

Some residents in Ramanagara felt the move was politically motivated as it would make no difference in the lives of people who do not own a large tract of land. “I have land which was just enough to build a small house. Renaming the district does not matter to me. The government should instead focus on reducing the household expenses. Just reducing the rate of gas cylinders will help many,” Nagaraju, a resident of Ramanagara said.

(Published 26 October 2023, 20:41 IST)

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