‘District administration to be held responsible for lapses’

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday said there is no dearth of funds to address water scarcity in many parts of the State. At the same time, he warned the district administrations of stringent action if any lapses are found in tackling the problem.

Speaking to presspersons after chairing a high-level meeting of Ministers and officials concerned here, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the district administrations had been directed to ensure supply of drinking water and fodder to cattle.

He said the government had already released Rs. 516 crore, including funds from the Union government, for the purpose. If necessary, more funds would be made available and relief measures would be taken up immediately, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

The Chief Minister said adequate fodder was available and the stocks would last for 22 weeks. Even so, as a precautionary measure, the government had directed officials to keep enough stock of fodder. While 10,163 villages in 125 taluks have been identified as drought-hit, 1,086 villages had no source of water and the government was supplying water to these villages via tankers, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

The government had opened control rooms in every taluk headquarters to function round the clock. Directions had been issued to preserve water in tanks and lakes solely for drinking purposes, even as steps are being taken to find long-term solutions for ensuring drinking water supply, he said.

The Chief Minister blamed the previous Bharatiya Janata Party government for the power shortage in the summer. He said the BJP government announced subsidised power without adding a single mega watt power to the grid. This has resulted in the government having to pay Rs. 6,500 crore a year to power supply companies towards subsidy.

He alleged that the BJP government had mishandled the Energy Department and dared the party to come for an open debate on the power situation. Load-shedding was being resorted to owing to faults in thermal power generation plants, Mr. Siddaramaiah said.

Minister for Revenue V. Srinivas Prasad, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra, Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj H.K. Patil, Minister for Energy D.K. Shivakumar, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee and other senior officials attended the meeting.

More In: Karnataka | National