Staff Correspondent

It lays stress on mitigating drinking water problem, says Minister

BIJAPUR: Minister for Textiles and Bijapur district in-charge Appasaheb Pattanashetti has said that a Rs. 90-crore action plan has been finalised to tackle the scarcity condition in the district.

Addressing a press conference after reviewing development works here, he said the plan emphasised on mitigating drinking water problem in rural and urban areas keeping in view the immediate requirements as well as long-term needs.

He said severe scarcity condition was expected this summer. At present, internal water sources had almost dried up in 35 villages, and water was being supplied through tankers.

The Minister said the Government might impose a ban on fodder being sent out from the State in the wake of the expected shortage during summer.

On the long pending Rs. 4.88-crore pilot project aimed at removing silt from the Don riverbed near Sarwad, he said work would begin soon. Of its Rs. 2.44 crore share, the Union Government had released Rs. 1.45 crore. Steps had been taken to release the State's share, he said.

Referring to falling price of sugarcane and excess production of the crop in the district, Mr. Pattanashetti said factory managements in the neighbouring districts and Maharshtra would be approached to lift cane. The farmers were not insisting on price but wanted immediate harvest of cane. However, there had been a demand for minimum support price. Also, they were expecting the Government to bear the cost of cane transportation. The Government was yet to look into the issues.

To a query related to his portfolio, he said the special package for weavers announced in the last budget was in progress. A sum of Rs. 10.5 crore was earmarked to subsidise loan interest at four per cent.

A sum of Rs. 6. 5 crore had been released and the balance would be utilised before the end of this financial year ending March next. The subsidised rate of interest would apply to loans taken from urban cooperative banks too, he added.

He said an expert committee would be constituted shortly to study the problems faced by weavers. It would also suggest welfare measures.

The Minister said those running power-looms had been seeking further reduction in the rate of power being supplied to them as it had been done in Andhra Pradesh, and it would be looked into.

Mr. Pattanashetti said the Government had announced that as many 10,000 subsidised houses would be constructed for weavers in Bijapur, Bagalkot, Gadag

and Belgaum, and work would commence soon.

Mr. Pattanashetti said all the major roads in the city would be asphalted before Navaraspur Utsav, a three-day music and cultural festival scheduled for April first week.

Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mohsin and Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Rajiv Ranjan were present.