BHUBANESWAR: People of Kalahandi are not in favour of being included in the proposed Koshal State, said members of Mahakantara Kriyanusthan Committee. They held a meeting here on Wednesday and said Kalahandi should not be included in the proposed Koshal State considering the district’s historical, linguistic and economicdifferences with other areas of Western Odisha. Koshal region is considered to comprise Boudh, Sonepur, Balangir, Nuapada, and Kalahandi. However, members of Mahakantara Kriyanusthan Committee said Kalahandi was historically never a part of Koshal region. In the 5th century AD, it was a part of Mahakantara with its capital city being in Narla and in 7th century, it was a part of the historical Trikalinga. Till Independence, it was known as Karunda and the kings were known as Karundadhipati.
They alleged that economic condition of people of Kalahandi has not improved till date, but claiming the region as backward some of the Western Odisha districts are grabbing all development projects and Government schemes. In the 80s, there was a mass movement in Kalahandi to set up a special development board in the district under Article 371 of the Constitution. This ultimately resulted in formation of Western Odisha Development Council and other districts reaped the benefit of it. Educationally too, Kalahandi has not archived much in all these years. In the absence of adequate number of colleges and a university, the gross enrolment ratio of the district continues to be low at 8.7 per cent. In the Education Policy-2016 which is being framed by the Higher Education Department, Kalahandi finds no mention.
Instead, the department has proposed to upgrade five autonomous colleges in Jeypore, Balangir, Rourkela, Angul and Puri to universities. Although the Task Force on Higher Education in 2009 had recommended for upgradation of Government Autonomous College of Bhawanipatna to an affiliated university for Kalahandi and Nuapada region, it has been ignored by the department. On the other hand, the State Government had last year recommended for upgrading the college into a university under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD). Unfortunately, due to lack of adequate number of lecturers and infrastructure facilities, the proposal was turned down by the MHRD. The committee members demanded formation of separate Mahakantara Rajya or Trikalinga Rajya, combining Kalahandi, undivided Koraput district and some neighbouring areas of Balangir district.