In view of the severe drought in 123 taluks, the State government has barred Ministers, other elected representatives and officials from going abroad on official trips for the next two months.

It will also not undertake major transfers during the next two months. Officials will be transferred only on need basis.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda chaired an-all party meeting here on Thursday and it was decided to take a delegation to Delhi at the end of April to submit a revised proposal seeking Rs. 4,500 crore assistance from the Natural Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF) for drought relief measures and payment of compensation for crop loss. Earlier, the Government had sought Rs. 2,605 crore from the NCCF.

“I hope that the Centre will release at least 50 per cent of the funds we ask for,” Mr. Gowda told presspersons after the meeting.

The Centre has released Rs. 186 crore so far, and Rs. 70.23 crore has been provided to the State Calamity Relief Fund.

A sum of Rs. 172.46 crore has been released for drinking water schemes.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah and State Congress president G. Parameshwara; H.D. Kumaraswamy, MP, and H.D. Revanna of the Janata Dal (S); Kodihalli Chandrashekar, farmer's leader; and CPI(M) leader G.N. Nagaraja attended the meeting.

Mr. Gowda, who visited drought-hit taluks during the past two days, said a decision on waiver of crop loans or interest on crop loans would be taken after holding discussions with the Centre.

The severity of the drought was not as bad this year as it was in 1972-73 and 1983-84, Mr. Gowda said, adding that he was satisfied with the pace of relief measures.