Party estimates loss at Rs. 5,000 crore

The Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) will highlight the gravity of the drought in the State during All India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi's visit to the State and seek her intervention for more Central assistance to take up relief work.

KPCC president G. Parameshwara told mediapersons here that three teams of the party, which had toured the 123 drought-hit taluks in the State, would submit a report to Ms Gandhi during a meeting of Congress delegates at Siddaganga Institute of Technology (SIT) in Tumkur.

The total loss to the State on account of the drought had been estimated at Rs. 5,000 crore and the farmers, who have lost their crop, have been left with no employment opportunities, he said.

More funds

The State government had submitted a report to the Centre seeking a financial aid of Rs. 2,600 crore. Though the Centre had released Rs 1,100 crore so far, the Congress would impress upon Ms. Gandhi to use her good offices to prevail upon the Manmohan Singh government to release more funds for drought relief works, he said.

In order to highlight the gravity of the drought situation, Dr. Parameshwara said, the Congress had scheduled a visit of the party president to Nagasamudra village in Chitradurga district's Molakalmuru taluk, where the residents are facing acute drinking water shortage after the tank, built more than a 100 years ago, dried up. “We can't possibly take her to all the drought-hit taluks. So, we identified one place for an on-the-spot assessment. She will also interact with the residents there,” he said.

Dr. Parameshwara said there was no politics involved in the Guruvandana Mahotsava of the Veerashaiva community seer. “The Veerashaivas had been with the Congress all along and leaders from the community such as Veerendra Patil had served as Chief Minister,” he said.

However, the Congress leader did not rule out suggestions that the party was using the occasion to launch its campaign for the next Assembly elections. “We are always prepared for elections. When our leader is coming, it may serve as an occasion for her to advise partymen on poll preparedness”, he said.