Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa on Thursday blamed officials for the State’s not-so-impressive performance in implementing schemes under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

Intervening during the discussion on rural development in the Legislative Council, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the State could not use much of the funds under NREGA last year as officials were not showing much interest in it.

Karnataka had utilised only Rs. 428 crore under the scheme last year as against Rs. 2,201 crore by Andhra Pradesh, Rs. 1,176 crore by Rajasthan and Rs. 569 crore by Madhya Pradesh, he pointed out.

However, the Government had set a target of utilising Rs. 2,000 crore under the scheme this year, the Chief Minister said and appealed to the legislators to cooperate with the State Government in this regard.

The Chief Minister’s opening remarks on the discussion on rural development during which he referred to his native village of Bookanakere in Mandya district lacking civic amenities came in for indirect criticism from Congress member S.R. Patil.

Participating in the discussion, Mr. Patil tried to compare the life in Bookanakere with that in his native village of Badagandi in Bilagi taluk in north Karnataka.

“I have set up a sugar factory in the village and ensured that the youth got jobs. I have given my own land to the school. I can say that my village is better than the Chief Minister’s. It is possible to bring about a change if politicians try to live in their native villages,” Mr. Patil said.

The Chief Minister complimented Mr. Patil and called upon the other legislators to adopt his model of development.

Meanwhile, Janata Dal (S) leader M.C. Nanaiah took exception to the reported plan to develop the Chief Minister’s native village by spending about Rs. 35 crore.