District administration had suggested their inclusion

Leaders of Janata Dal (Secular), here on Saturday, protested against the State government’s declaration of drought-hit taluks, in an official meeting held at the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Lok Sabha member H.D. Deve Gowda, MLAs H.D. Revanna, K.M. Shivalinge Gowda, H.S. Prakash, and MLC Patel Shivaram said the government was politicising the issue.

The government has declared Belur and Arkalgud taluks as drought-hit, though the district administration had recommended Arsikere and Channarayapatna, along with Belur, for the designation. V. Anbukkumar, Deputy Commissioner, said he had written to the Principal Secretary of Revenue and Secretary of Disaster Management. He conveyed the impact of drought in Arsikere and Channarayapatna taluks to the officers and requested them to include the taluks in the list.

Truck owners present at the meeting said they should be allowed to transport sand. They said the administration had stopped issuing permits. Mr. Anbukkumar said tenders issued the previous year had expired and a fresh tender process was on. “We will start issuing permits in 15 days. Till then, we have to take action against those who transport or extract sand without permits,” he said. Mr. Deve Gowda and Mr. Revanna urged the district administration to complete the tender process soon, so that onsgoing works were not affected.

Arsikere MLA Shivalinge Gowda came down heavily on the district administration, alleging that it was hampering government works in his constituencies by imposing restrictions on carrying “jelly” and building stones.

“A lot of work is meant to be completed by March 31 2013,” he said, demanding that the State provide temporary approvals for government projects.

The Deputy Commissioner said he would give sanctions within 15 days, if there were applications.

Regarding clearance from the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board for jelly crushers, Mr. Deve Gowda said it was nothing compared to pollution levels in Bangalore.

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