Power crisis a gift of the previous government: Siddaramaiah

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was here on Sunday to flag off development projects, said that the power crisis in the State was a gift from the previous government.

“After J.H. Patel, no Chief Minister, except S.M. Krishna, gave adequate importance to the State’s energy requirements. The previous government, in particular, paid the least attention to the energy crisis. It did not produce a single unit of power in its tenure. They spent their whole time talking about energy production and doing nothing,” he told presspersons at the helipad.

“We plan to generate 4,000 MW electricity in the next three years,” he said. Some of the older units of the Raichur Thermal Power Station would be renovated, he said.

Congress victory

The Chief Minister said that his party’s victories in the recent byelections could not be taken as the people’s mandate in favour of the Congress rule in Karnataka. However, it is the people’s mandate for the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre and their response to the “opportunistic” BJP-JD(S) alliance, he added.

“The Congress’ victory is a preamble to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that the expansion of the Cabinet and the inclusion of D.K. Shivakumar in it would take place as per the directions of the party high command. “The appointment of chairmen to various State-owned corporations and the Cabinet expansion would be done as per the directions of the high command. However, I cannot specify the time period within which these would be done,” he said.

On the expansion of the Narayanpur right bank canal, Mr. Siddaramaiah said: “The canal’s expansion would be completed within our tenure. The required funds have been released. I have discussed the matter with the Irrigation Minister,” he said.

The Chief Minister was brought in a procession, in which schoolchildren also participated, to the Gandhi Chowk. It is learnt that the Education Department officials ordered the schools to send their students for the rally despite the heat conditions. After unveiling the foundation stones to be installed for various development works, Mr. Siddaramaiah addressed a huge crowd and explained his government’s commitment to implementing pro-people policies.

“During floods and when our reservoirs are full, the excess water flows out of the State. We need to construct tanks along the Tungabhadra and the Krishna to use the excess water during the monsoon. We will discuss the matter with experts and the Andhra Pradesh government, and come up with viable plans,” he said.

Rail projects

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that his government was determined to bring in as many rail projects as possible. “The State has to provide 50 per cent of the cost and the required land for every rail project. The State’s outstanding commitment to rail projects stands at Rs. 7,000 crore. We have provided Rs. 343 crore for this year, and will provide more if required,” he said.

A railway coach-building factory is coming up in Kolar, at a cost of Rs. 1,400 crore. “The State will bear half the cost and provide 800 acres of land,” he added.

After handing over cheques to beneficiaries from the sexuality minorities community, the Chief Minister said that his government had decided to provide a monthly pension of Rs. 500 to every individual from the sexuality minorities community.

“Their [individuals from the sexuality minorities community] lives are not as normal as others’. We need to create such an atmosphere where they can lead their life with respect and dignity. To economically empower them, we have implemented a programme under which an individual belonging to the sexuality minorities community will get Rs. 20,000 for self-employment,” he said.

More In: Karnataka | National