Rs. 460 cr. for all districts: Eshwarappa

The State government has put a ban on the sale of fodder to other States owing to the severe drought in several parts of Karnataka, which has resulted in shortage of fodder.

Replying to a discussion on the severe drought, Deputy Chief Minister K.S. Eshwarappa, who is also the Revenue Minister, told the Legislative Assembly that Rs. 460 crore would be provided to all the districts to combat drought. Of this, Rs. 250 crore would be released in March and April for drinking water supply.

He said, it has also been decided to grow fodder on a larger scale in the State and nearly 10,000 acres of government land would be set apart for it. “We will do our best to provide relief to farmers and there need not be any anxiety,” he said.

Janata Dal (Secular) floor leader H.D. Revanna on Wednesday urged the State government to appeal to the Centre to provide appropriate assistance to the State for drought relief.

Unequal proportion

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on the drinking water shortage, Mr. Revanna said while the Centre has so far provided Rs. 195 crore to the State, it had provided Rs. 320 crore to Gujarat, Rs. 424 crore to Rajasthan and Rs. 501 crore to Maharashtra, although the drought in Karnataka too was quite severe. Nearly 140 taluks here have been declared drought-affected and the State government has so far submitted three memoranda to the Centre on this.

He said farmers in several parts of the State were facing distress and cattle were being sold owing to fodder shortage. So far, the government has allocated only Rs. 5 crore for the purchase of fodder, which is paltry given the shortage. Most taluks were yet to receive government fodder although the authorities have stated that nearly 24,000 tonnes of fodder had been purchased. The government should release at least Rs. 1 crore for every district towards the purchase of fodder.

Gopal Bhandari (Congress) representing the Karkala constituency in the Legislative Assembly said although Dakshin Kannada district has not been declared drought-hit, the shortage of drinking water in most taluks was quite severe. The government should provide adequate funds to the district administration for drinking water supply and roadworks and at least Rs. 2 crore should be provided to each Assembly constituency.

The former Minister Amare Gowda Bayyapure (Congress) said the government should cover the costs for transporting fodder similar to the arrangement made by the former Janata Dal government headed by Ramakrishna Hegde. Further, fodder should be purchased in adequate quantities from neighbouring States and electricity supply should be stepped up for pumping drinking water.

Nearly 20 members spoke during the two-day discussion on the drinking water shortage owing to drought and felt that the administration should do its best to provide quick relief to the rural people. Most of the members who spoke represented rural constituencies in the Legislative Assembly.

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