Staff Correspondent

Union Minister M.V. Rajasekharan meets district authorities

Belgaum: Union Minister of State for Planning M.V. Rajasekharan stressed the need to amend the norms governing Natural Calamity Relief Fund to make it more meaningful and effective, particularly to facilitate permanent solutions to villages, towns and cities facing floods.

The need to review and bring in changes is also necessitated by the changing climatic conditions in the aftermath of the tsunami in 2004. The changes have led to unimaginable happenings where desert areas such as the Thar in Rajasthan were in the grip of floods.

He was here to look into the financial requirements to take up relief measures in the flood-affected areas of north Karnataka. Before visiting the flood-affected areas in Chikkodi and Athani taluk later in the day, he held discussions with former Minister Prakash B. Hukkeri, MP Suresh C. Angadi and also with the district authorities here on Wednesday.

He said he would apprise Prime Minister and Union Agriculture Minister of the flood situation and problems being confronted by villagers and impress upon the need to change the norms for extending relief and providing permanent solutions to areas chronically facing floods.

He would hold discussion in this regard with the senior officials in the Planning Department.

He denied that the Union Government was discriminating against the State by not releasing additional funds to tackle natural calamity. He said the Union Government was assessing the situation before releasing funds.

Mr. Hukkeri and Deputy Commissioner Shalini Rajneesh spoke.