Special Correspondent

`Rs. 139 crore released to zilla panchayats'

Bangalore: Minister for Rural Water Supply and Sugar S.A. Ravindranath has said the Government has provided adequate funds to the zilla panchayats to ensure drinking water supply to all villages.

He told presspersons here on Monday that the Government had released Rs. 139 crore to zilla panchayats two months ago, and of this the zilla panchayats had spent only about Rs. 75 crore. There were adequate funds with the zilla panchayats to take up drinking water supply programmes. Further, the MLAs' task force had been provided Rs. 15 crore which could be utilised for drinking water supply programmes.

Dr. Ravindranath said the rainfall in the State was restricted to a few areas even though many of the reservoirs were full. Rainfall was sparse in a majority of the 175 taluks. Although the poor rainfall had not resulted in problems in drinking water supply, agriculture had been badly hit.

Referring to the sugar sector, the Minister said 22 sugar factories in the cooperative and private sector, which had remained closed for nearly four years due to various reasons, had now restarted operations. The Government had fixed Rs. 1,100 a tonne as the purchase price for sugarcane in Mysore and Mandya regions. Compared with last year's sugar production of 1.7 lakh tonnes, the Government was confident that sugar production this year would increase to 2.5 lakh tonnes following the good sugarcane crop and the reopening of the sugar factories.