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Updated: February 15, 2014 11:34 IST

Karnataka budget leaves coastal districts at sea

Govind D. BelgaumkarMohit M. Rao
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Fisheries allocation drops; development of minor ports is yet to take concrete shape

There was little to cheer for the people of the coastal districts in the Budget for 2014-15 presented by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday. The region had missed the attention of Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday.

Barring the announcement of a Rs. 25-crore traffic improvement project (M-TRAC) for Mangalore, the region can hardly hope for any mega infrastructure boost in the forthcoming financial year, going by the budget. The allocation of Rs. 95 crore for the centrally-funded Shiradi Ghat improvement project is not a new proposal while the 18.5-km Rs.2,200 crore project for the road with a 7.7km tunnel with Japanese funding is still under consideration. The State government could hardly have taken credit for them.

Only proposals

The schemes such as a jetty expansion at Fish Landing Centre at Tengingudi of Bhatkal Taluk in Uttar Kannada District; construction of outer harbour with break water near Madikala of Uppunda village in Kundapura taluk in Udupi district; or the oceanarium at Pilikula are just proposals that do not carry financial allocation. So is the case with Haj Bhavan proposed here and training and manufacturing centres in Maoist-affected areas of Karkala Taluk. While the Chief Minister announced a Rs. 100-crore for Mysore infrastructure, no such projects were considered for Mangalore. It may be recalled that former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had announced special packages of Rs. 100 for two consecutive years for city corporations.

The proposal to develop minor ports is yet to take concrete shape. Mr. Siddaramaiah said: “With a view to encourage commercial and industrial activity in the State by developing small ports in coastal area of the State under PPP and for providing suitable infrastructure, it is proposed to enforce Karnataka Minor Ports Policy.”

The budget has earmarking of Rs.1 crore for development of memorial of Dalit reformer Sri Kudmal Rangarao and German Multi Skill Development Centres at Mangalore and Regional Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Sirsi.

The State government has reduced the allocation for fisheries to Rs. 221 crore compared to Rs. 229 crore allocated in the budget for 2013-14 (July 2013 to March 2014).

Central funds

The Advanced Research Centre at Udupi, under Mangalore University and Central University at Karwar are to be taken up using the Central funds of Rashtriya Uchchatara Shikshana Abhiyana (RUSA).

The proposal on improving fishing harbours has a long way to go before it fructifies. The budget only proposes to initiate “action to improve hygienic conditions in eight fishing harbours and 20 fish landing centres with financial assistance from National Fisheries Development Board as per the standards set by the European Union for import of food items.”

Even the Congress circles wondered how Dakshina Kannada, which has three ministers, could not get more for the district if not for the three coastal districts.

The Budget brings with it bad news for many along the ghats. Apart from reaffirming its faith in the Yetthinahole Project – which is being retendered for first phase works – the Chief Minister also said that the Paramashivaiah Committee report, which suggests diversion of 11 west flowing rivers, is under “serious consideration of the government”, with an assurance of “appropriate action … at the earliest.”

While the Yettinahole project seeks to divert 24 tmc from one tributary of Nethravati, the Paramashivaiah report suggests using of 334.7 tmc of “waste water flowing in the Arabian Sea”.

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