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Drought relief: Dharam Singh attacks Govt.

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N. Dharam Singh
N. Dharam Singh

Special Correspondent

`It has a callous approach to serious problems faced by the people, particularly farmers'

Bangalore: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly N. Dharam Singh on Thursday hit out at the coalition Government on the implementation of drought relief works. The State Government had not even prepared an action plan to tackle drought, he said.

Initiating the discussion on drought relief (under Rule 69) after Speaker Krishna refused permission for an adjournment motion, Mr. Singh said the State Government had a callous approach to serious problems faced by the people, particularly farmers. The approach was the same over the past four months even though there was a detailed discussion on drought even in the special session of the legislature in Belgaum in September last.

The Opposition leader said the drought situation was quite serious in 128 taluks of the State and neither the district in-charge ministers nor senior officials of the Government had evinced any interest in providing relief to the people. Mr. Singh said 172 farmers committed suicide in the last one year. He said the State Government was yet to implement the farmers' package provided by the Union Government and the implementation procedure was still under discussion by a Cabinet subcommittee headed by Public Works Minister H.D. Revanna.

Interestingly, Revenue Minister Jagadish Shettar was not part of the subcommittee. The deputy commissioners in the districts had sought Rs. 2,200 crore and the Government so far had hardly provided a tenth of the funds sought.

Mr. Singh said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had gone out of the way to provide relief to the State owing to the large number of farmers' suicides. A sum of Rs. 2,679 crore had been provided for six districts of the State, including Chikmagalur, Tumkur, Belgaum and Hassan.The relief package was almost similar to the one provided for the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra. While the other States which received relief package had already utilised the funds allocated and were now seeking an additional package, Karnataka was yet to implement it which was a reflection on the callous approach of the Government, he charged.

Floor leader of the Janata Dal (United) J.C. Madhuswamy said the Government should finalise a scientific approach to tackle drought rather than resort to ad hoc measures. The Government "has utterly failed" in providing relief to the affected people, he alleged.

He said the food-for-work programme intended to provide relief to agricultural workers had not been implemented so far obviously due to shortage of foodgrains.

Congress leader and former Minister R.V. Deshpande urged the Government to step in and launch a drought relief programme without further loss of time.

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