Diocese of Bellary
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In a land area of 41,217 square kilometers, the Diocese of Bellary includes three revenue districts of Bellary, Raichur and Koppal all in Karnataka state.

Population

The total population of Bellary Diocese is 4,892,991 according to the Census of 2011. (Population of whole Karnataka state according to the Census of 2011 is 61,130, 704.)

Language

Kannada which is the state language of Karnataka is the main language across the diocese. It is also the official language of Bellary Diocese. With that there are people who speak Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Konkanni and English.

History

The origin of Christianity goes back to the 16th century through the Franciscan pioneers. In 1928 the two districts of Archdiocese of Hyderabad were formed into a new mission of Bellary - 'Sui Juris'. The new Diocese of Bellary was established in 1949.

During the reorganization of India into linguistic states, certain territories which had become part of Andhra Pradesh state went to Hyderabad and Nellore Dioceses. That made the Bellary Diocese a predominantly Kannada linguistic Diocese of Karnataka.

Political

Karnataka is ruled by pro-Hindu political party of Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP) since May 2008. Out of 21 Legislative Assembly constituents of Bellary Diocese 13 are won by the ruling party. Whereas Indian National Congress (INC) has won 5, Janatha Dal -Secular (JDS) has won 2 and an independent candidate has won a single constituency. During the present political rule, there have been number of cases of attacks on the minorities and especially on Christians in Bellary as it is the case in many of the Districts of Karnataka.

Transportation

Bellary is well connected by road to different parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa states in Southern India. The mining transportation takes place through national highways. Bellary is well connected by Rail. Currently, two railway stations serve the city, both built during British rule. The civilian Bellary Airport with limited and inconsistent air services currently has no commercial service available. A new international airport in Bellary is being planned by the Infrastructure Development Corporation of Karnataka.

Economy

The major occupation of this Diocese is agriculture and 75 percent of the total labor force is dependent on agriculture for its livelihood. The important crops grown are cotton, jowar, groundnut, rice, sunflower and cereals. The net irrigated area is 37 percent to the net area sown.

The main source of irrigation is Tungabhadra Dam. The Canal network accounts for 64 percent of irrigated area. The important rivers are Tungabhadra, Hagari and Chikkahagari.

The western region is dogged with scarcity conditions with the failure of rains during successive years. However during the year 2010 and preceding year heavy rains have created havoc in the district leaving many in lurch.

Education

The percentage of literacy rate of the Karnataka State has increased from 66.64 percent in 2001 to 75.60 percent in 2011 according to Census 2011. That means 10.99 percent of literacy has increased in Bellary Diocese during the last ten years. While it was 54.20 percent in 2001 in three districts in which the Diocese is spread out, it has reached to the level of 65.19 percent in 2011.

Industries

The geographical Diocese is endowed with rich mineral resources. It has both metallic and non-metallic minerals. The metallic minerals include iron ore, manganese ore, red oxide, gold, copper and lead. The non-metallic minerals include andalusite, asbestos, corundum, clay, dolomite, limestone, limekankan, moulding sand, quartz, soap stone, granite and red ochre. Despite the availability of minerals in large quantities, this district is considered to be an industrially backward district.

The ruthless and illegal mining of iron ore in Bellary has caused environmental damage and also wide ranging social and economical side effects. Large deposits of iron has brought in the mining robbery or mafia through illegal mining companies. The Diocese of Bellary too is one of the victims of the mining mafia.

The Bellary district will therefore come under heavy pressure on basic infrastructure such as power, communication, health, education and police stations which again would invite heavy investment to create the needed infrastructure. It has already drawn the attention of social scientists, economists, administrators and other related functionaries to think over the possible positive and negative impact in this area.