Janata Dal (S) member Y. S. V. Datta on Thursday questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s commitment to remove regional imbalance in north Karnataka by alleging that the Public Works Department had spent only Rs. 22 crore in six backward districts of North Karnataka in 2008-09 while Rs. 76 crore was spent in chief minister’s home district of Shimoga alone.

Participating in a debate on the state budget-2010 in the Legislative Council, Mr. Datta alleged that the PWD had spent Rs. 1.96 crore in Gulbarga, Rs. 95 lakh in Yadgir (presently new district), Rs. 5.84 crore in Bidar, Rs. 5.82 cror ein Bellary, Rs. 5.34 crore in Koppal and Rs. 1.98 crore in Raichur – the districts in Hyderabad Karnataka which fall under the category of backard in the report of the Nanjudappa Committee that looked into regional disparities.

Though the government made tall claims of initiating steps to remove regional disparity, only a meagre sum was allocated to these northern districts by the PWD in 2008-09, he alleged.

Responding to this, the chief minister maintained that several other benefits had been given to the backward districts such as setting up various universities including veterinary university. But the Opposition members questioned this by maintaining that veterinary university had been shifted much before 2008-09.

Mr. Datta further alleged that only a portion of amount earmarked under special assistance to these backward districts had been actually released.

EXTRA CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY:

A remark by Mr. Yeddyurappa targeted against JD (S) H. D. Revanna -- that a “certain minister” in the then JD (S)-BJP government was acting like an “extra constitutional authority” by getting to his office the important files of all ministries -- created a furore in the Legislative Council on Thursday. Responding to this, the Opposition members, including the JD (S), demanded that a CBI or Lokayukta inquiry should be ordered into all the decisions of that government to establish if norms had indeed been violated by the “extra constitutional authority.”

Mr. Yeddyurappa made these remarks when Mr. Datta accused him of “encroaching upon” the portfolios of his ministerial colleagues by making all the decisions in the issues related to their departments. Mr. Yeddyurappa remarked: During the JD (S)-BJP coalition government, there was a minister who was keeping important files of all the ministers including ours with him for months together. Yajamaanaru (head, in this case Deve Gowda) was making the decisions on such files. We had to first see Datta and bow before the above minister even to get back the files.”

(EOM)