The former Revenue Minister, B. Somashekar, has called upon the government to immediately assist farmers with quality agricultural seeds and fertilizers, and fodder for cattle in an effort to tackle drought.

‘Don't waste time'

In a statement here on Saturday, he said, “If the government is sincere, it should not waste time in seeking Central assistance and complain over the delay in receiving financial support. Instead, the government should take steps to distribute quality seeds, fertilizers and other inputs, cattle fodder and medicine. These are all simple things which can be done without wasting time; timely action will help the people. What the government is talking about now should have been done three months ago, in January and February.”

‘Insincerity shows'

Mr. Somashekar added: “The much-publicised efforts of the State government, with cooperation of all the political parties for fighting drought and providing relief to the people, has come too late. The drought was at it's peak from January and February up until now, and goshalas should have been opened a few months ago. The all-party meeting should have been held two months ago, but political parties were neither sincere nor serious in combating famine and carrying out relief works.”

Infighting

With reference to the political parties vis-à-vis drought, the former Minister said the Bharatiya Janata Party government is divided, with one section in favour of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and the other against him.

As a result, the two groups are active in party infighting rather than serving the people.

Similarly, Congress leaders are preoccupied with another kind of infighting within the party, while the Janata Dal (Secular) leaders are busy in the courts of law. It is unfortunate that political leaders of the day have no time for the people. With the southwest monsoon scheduled to set in on time, it will be appreciated if the government can extend support to the farmers with requisite inputs.

Meanwhile, the State government, in an order issued here on Saturday, has banned foreign tours by its officials for two months following the serious drought across the State.

Directions have been issued to all officials to attend to people's grievances. Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda is himself on a tour of the drought-hit areas.

Ban order

The ban on foreign tours will be applicable in particular to all officers of the rank of Secretary to Government and above.

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