Situation is grave in many parts of the State, says the Chief Minister

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar on Saturday said the number of tankers supplying drinking water and the amount of fodder for cattle in the drought-hit areas had been increased following demand from people and farmers.

Speaking to mediapersons after discussing the issue with a 10-member central drought situation study team, headed by Pravesh Sharma, at his home-office “Krishna”, the Chief Minister said that the drought situation was grave in many parts of the State. If the dry spell continued for some more period, it may worsen warranting intensive relief measures.

The team, which split into two, toured Gadag, Koppal, Bijapur, Chamarajanagar, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts, and heard harrowing tales of people not getting sufficient clean drinking water and fodder for their cattle. Mr. Sharma briefed the Chief Minister and senior officials of the State government entrusted with the responsibility of handling the drought situation.

Fodder supply

Mr. Shettar said that fodder to each head of cattle had been increased from 5 kg to 8 kg. In some places. The government, he said, had also started distributing cattle feed to farmers for the consumption of cattle left in the sheds opened by the government. He said that the officers in the team, who had visited drought-hit villages in these districts, including the works taken up under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, appreciated the State government for the measures taken by it to alleviate the sufferings of people.

On the Opposition allegation that the State government was not serious about providing relief to the people from its own funds, the Chief Minister said that the Rs. 3,500 crore spent by it for waiving cooperative loans and interest up to Rs.25,000 was part of the drought relief measures. Other than this, the Government had spent Rs. 700 crore for providing drinking water, fodder and employment.

Even though a delegation of the State government had presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh requesting him to release Rs. 11,489 crore, the Centre had not responded. The government had demanded the Centre to release Rs. 19,500 crore towards waiver of loans taken by the farmers from the nationalised banks, which would go a long way in alleviating their sufferings, he added.

The central team left for New Delhi in the evening and will submit its report to the Union government.