Special Correspondent

Government's commitment to removing regional imbalance questioned

Yeddyurappa says other benefits have been given to the backward districts

Furore over Chief Minister's remarks on ‘extra constitutional authority'

BANGALORE: Janata Dal (Secular) member Y.S.V. Datta on Thursday questioned the Bharatiya Janata Party's commitment to remove regional imbalance in north Karnataka by alleging that the Public Works Department had spent only Rs. 22 crore in six backward districts of north Karnataka in 2008-09 while Rs. 76 crore was spent in the Chief Minister's home district of Shimoga alone.

Expenditure

Participating in a debate on the State budget-2010 in the Legislative Council, Mr. Datta alleged that the PWD had spent Rs. 1.96 crore in Gulbarga, Rs. 95 lakh in Yadgir (presently new district), Rs. 5.84 crore in Bidar, Rs. 5.82 crore in Bellary, Rs. 5.34 crore in Koppal and Rs. 1.98 crore in Raichur — the districts in Hyderabad Karnataka which fall under the category of backward in the report of the Nanjudappa Committee that looked into regional disparities.

Though the Government made tall claims of initiating steps to remove regional disparity, only a meagre sum was allocated to these northern districts by the Public Works Department in 2008-09, he alleged.

Responding to this, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa maintained that several other benefits had been given to the backward districts such as setting up various universities, including veterinary university.

But the Opposition members questioned this by maintaining that veterinary university had been shifted much before 2008-09.

Mr. Datta further alleged that only a portion of amount earmarked under special assistance to these backward districts had been actually released.

Furore

A remark by Mr. Yeddyurappa targeted against Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Revanna — that a “certain minister” in the then Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP Government was acting like an “extra constitutional authority” by getting to his office the important files of all ministries — created a furore in the Legislative Council on Thursday. Responding to this, the Opposition members, including those from the Janata Dal (Secular), demanded that a Central Bureau of Investigation or Lokayukta inquiry be ordered into all the decisions of that government to establish if norms had been violated by the “extra constitutional authority.”

Mr. Yeddyurappa made these remarks when Mr. Datta accused him of “encroaching upon” the portfolios of his ministerial colleagues by making all the decisions in the issues related to their departments. Mr. Yeddyurappa remarked: “During the Janata Dal (Secular)-BJP coalition government regime, there was a minister who was keeping important files of all the ministers, including ours, with him for months together. Yajamaanaru [head, in this case Deve Gowda] was making the decisions on such files. We had to first see Mr. Datta and bow before the above Minister even to get back the files.”

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