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Congress seeks Assembly session to debate drought, Lokayukta report

Special Correspondent
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‘In 50 taluks, people aren't getting drinking water and there is no fodder for animals'

FOR DISCUSSION: Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah (right); Leader of the Opposition in the Council Motamma; Congress Legislature Party secretary C.S. Nadegowda Appaji and Congress leader Mahadevappa at a meeting in Bangalore on Tuesday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan
FOR DISCUSSION: Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah (right); Leader of the Opposition in the Council Motamma; Congress Legislature Party secretary C.S. Nadegowda Appaji and Congress leader Mahadevappa at a meeting in Bangalore on Tuesday. — Photo: K. Gopinathan

Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Tuesday said that the Congress Legislature Party has sought the immediate convening of a legislature session to debate the Lokayukta and V. Balasubramaniam reports on illegal mining and encroachment of 12 lakh acres of government land, respectively and the drought situation in 50 taluks.

Speaking to presspersons here, Mr. Siddaramaiah, accompanied by the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council Motamma and MLC K.C. Kondaiah, said that many things, including the resignation of B.S. Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister following his indictment by the Lokayukta, had happened in the last 23 days.

The Central Empowered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court and the Lokayukta had recommended recovery of losses incurred to the Exchequer by illegal mining. All those, involved in the mining scam, had siphoned off Rs. 16,085 crore, apart from the under-invoiced Rs. 2,222 crore and royalty of Rs. 1,817 crore, all put together Rs. 20,124 crore.

All these developments had exposed Mr. Yeddyurappa's lies that neither the Bellary Ministers nor he had indulged in any illegal mining, he said. He demanded that Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda recover the losses and pay off the government debt of Rs. 93,000 crore.

Though the Congress had launched an agitation against illegal mining, and corruption by Katta Subramanya Naidu as far as ITASCA was concerned, Mr. Siddaramaiah alleged, the other parties were claiming credit for it. He also reiterated the Congress demand for a CBI inquiry into all illegal decisions/actions taken by all the departments under the then Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy.

He demanded that Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath supply the Lokayukta reports to whoever applied for copies of it, including the media, as Governor H.R. Bhardwaj had ordered the former to act. The Lokayukta had also made over a copy to the CEC. This would facilitate a public debate also, he added. The Congress leader said that drought had set in and people in 50 taluks were not getting drinking water and fodder for animals. But, Mr. Sadananda Gowda instead of paying a visit to them was visiting temples and receiving felicitations. A mere worship at filling reservoirs for good rain by him would not help farmers, he added.

‘Land-grab'

Mr. Kondaiah alleged that the Government had issued orders for converting 21.30 acres in Survey No. 97 in Bellary taluk in the name of Lakshmi Aruna, wife of the former Tourism Minister G. Janardhan Reddy, for non-agricultural purpose, violating the Land Revenue Act. He alleged that she could not purchase agricultural land as her income from the non-agriculture was more than Rs. 2 lakh. In another case, 38 cents of land in Survey No. 334 in Bellary had been sanctioned to her for constructing a house. The then Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy's application for grant of 17 cents in Survey No. 224 in Bellary, had also been sanctioned. Strangely, the former Minister had granted the land to himself.

Mr. Kondaiah alleged that the Bagalur Land Tribunal was, in a few days, going to deprive 200 genuine tenants of 500 acres of land near Yelahanka on the outskirts of the city. Mr. Siddaramaiah demanded that the Assistant Commissioner, who is also chairman of the tribunal concerned, not to issue the orders. He said that the Opposition wanted to debate all these issues in the session.

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