Splitting Thane into two on cabinet agenda today

The long-delayed proposal to split India's most populous district, Thane, is scheduled to be discussed by the Maharashtra cabinet on Thursday.

"The state has already received a report from Konkan Divisonal Commissioner recommending a split of Thane into two. The cabinet will discuss this issue on Thursday," a senior state official said. The government is keen to announce a new district by January 26.

In the census of 2011, Thane had nearly 1.1 crore residents. Parts of the district are prosperous with high realty prices, whereas the largely tribal parts remain neglected. The proposal to split the district was mooted in 1994, but no decision was taken.

According to a report by Konkan Divisional Commissioner Vijay Nahata submitted a fortnight ago, tribal areas like Jawahar, Mokahda, Talasari, Vikramgad, Wada, Palghar, Vasai and Palghar are proposed to be made a separate district, with the urban areas of Thane, Navi Mumbai, Bhiwandi, Kalyan-Dombivli and Shahapur being bunched into another.

A separate district is expected to bring better management of underdevelopment and improved industrial growth to the tribal areas, and reduce the hardship of residents who now travel long distances to the Thane collectorate to get work done.

Officials said the bifurcation would cost between Rs 150 crore and Rs 200 crore, and would take close to a year to be complete.

There are 35 districts in Maharashtra; the newest, Gondia and Gadchiroli, having been created in 1999. Proposals to split Nashik, Ahmednagar and Dhule districts are also pending before the government. Elected representatives from Malegaon this week asked for the process of creating a Malegaon district out of Nashik to be expedited.

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