India's most populous district Thane to be split; Palghar set to be Maharashtra's 36th district

Jun 13, 2014, 16:48 IST | Agencies

India's most populous district - Thane - will be split and a new district Palghar carved out of it soon. With this Palghar will become Maharashtra's 36th district

Mumbai: Palghar is all set to be Maharashtra's 36th district with the state cabinet today approving the long pending proposal to bifurcate Thane district.

Eight talukas of Palghar, Jawahar, Mokhada, Talasari, Vasai, Wada, Dahanu and Vikramgad will now form part of Palghar district. The new district headquarters will now be stationed at Palghar. While Thane, Kalyan, Ambernath, Ulhasnagar, Bhiwandi, Murbad and Shahapur will continue to be part of Thane district.

The government will set aside Rs 450 crore to create infrastructure in Palghar and the new district will come into being from August 1, government sources said. With the proposal for bifurcation of Thane district cleared, there were more demands for creation of new districts from within the cabinet, they said.

EGS minister Nitin Raut demanded new districts be created in Vidarbha as well for better governance. To which, it was decided to set up a committee to look into the demands and take decisions accordingly.

Thane district has seven municipal corporations and 24 MLAs and there has been demand for bifurcation of the district for better administration.

Pending since 20 years, the proposal to split Thane - with a population of over 12 million, nearly 10 percent of the state population - was approved by the state cabinet here Friday, but immediately sparked protests from various opposition parties, including the Shiv Sena.

Besides being the most populous district in the country, it also has the largest number of seven municipal corporations for any district in the country, nestling in its 9,600 sq. km area.

In Maharashtra, after Mumbai, it is the second biggest in terms of number of assembly segments - 24 in four Lok Sabha constituencies, and is the third most industrialised district in the state.

With history dating it back to 1817, Thane today offers some stark contrasts. On one hand, with the ongoing urbanisation Thane city is dotted with skyscrapers, swank malls and multiplexes, flyovers and wide roads, and on the other, barely a few score km away are some of the most wretched tribal villages and hamlets in the hilly forested regions and tiny fishing villages on the coast.

Terming the bifurcation as politically motivated in view of the ensuing assembly elections, the Shiv Sena and other parties had demanded trifurcation on the basis of the coastal, hilly and urban make-up of Thane.

Vasai Independent legislator Vivek Pandit has demanded that since the problems of these three distinct areas are different, the state government should have split Thane into three districts to serve the people better.

This is the first major bifurcation of a district after 1999, when Gondiya and Gadchiroli were created in the eastern Vidarbha region of the state, taking the total count to 35 districts in Maharashtra.

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