Defending the hike in milk price by Rs. 3 a litre, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said on Thursday that it would help farmers and their family members.

Addressing presspersons here, Mr. Yeddyurappa said that the hike was discussed in the Assembly when it was proposed and the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) had given their consent to it.

The Chief Minister said that for every litre, the farmers would receive Rs. 2.50 in addition to Rs. 2 a litre being paid by the Government as support price. This would help enhance farmers' income.

Even the cost of milk production had substantially increased, making it imperative to increase the milk price, he added.

Reiterating the Government's commitment to help dairy farmers, Mr. Yeddyurappa said that the Government had introduced a loan of Rs. 70,000 to farmers at six per cent interest which would enable them to purchase cows to enhance milk production to meet the demand. In this context, Stree Shakti self-help groups too were likely to be covered under the new scheme and a decision would be taken soon.

The Chief Minister said that the State would purchase 1200 MW of power from other States from tonight, including 600 MW from Gujarat.

This would help tide over the current power crisis to an extent. Mr. Yeddyurappa defended the move of prohibiting private firms from selling power to other States in the wake of power crisis in Karnataka.

Mr. Yeddyurappa said that Minister for Urban Development S. Suresh Kumar would be Mysore district in-charge Minister. The post became vacant after Shobha Karandlaje was eased out of the Cabinet.

Mr. Suresh Kumar is also Tumkur district in-charge Minister.

BJP workers here are unhappy that a person over-loaded with responsibilities has been given additional responsibilities and this could have an adverse impact on the quality of administration.

The Chief Minister also relieved Medical Education Minister Ramachandre Gowda of his post as Mandya district in-charge Minister and appointed Transport Minister R. Ashok in his place. On why independent MLAs supporting the BJP were not being made district in-charge ministers, the Chief Minister said that it was a decision taken at the party's leadership at the national level.

He hinted that MLAs from Mysore could be included in the Ministry in case of a Cabinet expansion in the future.

Mr. Yeddyurappa participated in the inauguration of a temple dedicated to Lord Venkatramanaswamy and Varaha Swami at Gangotri Layout. Local MLA H.S. Shankarlinge Gowda was among those present.

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