The State government has released Rs. 48 crore for drilling new borewells and recharging dried-up borewells in drought-affected taluks, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda has said. As irregular power supply has worsened the drinking water supply problem, officials have been asked to use diesel generators, the Chief Minister said at a press conference here on Sunday.

The government had so far released Rs. 369 crore for taking up relief works in the affected taluks and Rs. 30 lakh was released for each affected taluk in the first phase, he said. The Ministers who had visited the affected regions had submitted an interim report to the government. Based on the report, Rs. 30 lakh would be released for each Assembly segment in the affected taluk, he said.

Mr. Gowda added that there was sufficient stock of fodder in the affected taluks.

An all-party meeting had been convened on April 19 to discuss strategies for tackling the drought. The Union government had been urged to provide Rs. 2,606-crore relief to the State to tackle the drought. So far, the Centre had released Rs. 86 crore to the State. He said an all-party delegation would be taken to New Delhi soon to apprise the Union government of the drought situation.

‘Blackmail tactics'

He termed the ongoing boycott of II PU evaluation as blackmail tactics by lecturers. At a time when large parts of the State were reeling under drought, the salary of government employees, including teachers, was hiked. The government was willing to address the demands of pre-university lecturers. But, they should realise that boycotting evaluation was not the way to get their demands fulfilled and return to work immediately, he said.

On the meeting of Chief Ministers on internal security, scheduled to be held in New Delhi on April 16, Mr. Gowda said he would urge the Union government to declare Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts as naxal affected and release Rs. 100-crore grant for each of these districts for taking up development works.

President of the State unit of the BJP K.S. Eshwarappa and MPs B.Y. Raghavendra and Ayanur Manjunath were present.