Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Thursday came down heavily on the State government for not taking up relief measures on a war-footing in the 123 drought-hit taluks. He said that whatever had been done would not solve drinking water and fodder shortages nor provide jobs to lakhs of people.
Speaking to mediapersons after attending an all-party meeting on drought situation and the plight of farmers owing to serious problems faced by areca, ginger, potato and turmeric growers, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that even after six months of the setting in of drought, fodder banks had not been set up. Only 48 goshalas have been established, while 1.39 crore livestock were left without sufficient fodder.
Mr. Siddaramaiah demanded of Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda that the government waive loans taken by farmers, as they could not repay it due to severe drought condition this year. He said that Mr. Gowda had given the assurance that the request would be considered, and had told the meeting that it had not collected the loans till now. The Congress leader said that the infighting in the Bharatiya Janata Party was also coming in the way of taking up and monitoring relief measures.
Leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) H.D. Revanna alleged that the Union government, despite the presence of five Ministers from the State had not released a single paise to Karnataka for tackling the drought, while the State government presented a memorandum seeking Rs. 2,405 crore from it.
Mr. Revanna said that the farmers had availed themselves of loans totalling Rs.10,000 crore from rural banks. He demanded the Centre announce a package to the State, as it gave Rs.1,000 crore to Andhra Pradesh for three years.
The Janata Dal (Secular) leader wanted the government to take up desilting operations in around 3,000 dry tanks. The tanks would fill up during the rain. Janata Dal (United) leader M.P. Nadagouda suggested setting up of an institute on the lines of Anti-Famine Institute in Bijapur establishing during the British period to remover silt from tanks. This would help in asset creation and had not been done in the last 20 years.
Keywords: Karnataka drought