Transport Minister and Ballari in-charge B. Sriramulu presented a progress report of various development projects and welfare programmes taken up in Ballari district on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day celebrations in Ballari on Thursday.
Addressing people after hoisting the national flag at Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences in Ballari, the Minister said that development of Ballari gathered momentum under BJP rule in the State.
“Agriculture, mining and tourism are the key sectors that are contributing to the development of Ballari. The district is known for its superior quality iron ore deposits. We want to make it a steel hub of India by encouraging the establishment of steel units in the district. We are also planning to establish a film city in Ballari,” Mr. Sriramulu said.
On mobilisation and utilisation of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds, the Minister said that ₹1,946.04 crore has been collected for the funds and, of this amount, ₹1,593.68 crore is being spent for implementing 1,242 projects.
“We are spending ₹445.54 crore for infrastructure development, ₹387.84 crore for drinking water projects, ₹246.72 crore for education, ₹195.35 crore for health, ₹149.67 crore for irrigation and sanitation and ₹168.44 crore for others, including women and child development, senior citizen and disabled welfare,” Mr. Sriramulu said.
The Minister made special remarks of commendation to the district administration that took up a Blindness-free Ballari campaign to screen the entire population in the district for providing eye care services, including doing eye surgeries and providing spectacles, free to those in need.
“Blindness-free Ballari is a unique campaign taken up by the district administration at a cost of ₹4 crore. The campaign that put focus on 2.5 lakh people among the poor and marginalised sections living in urban slums was later extended to other sections in urban and rural areas. So far, 11.77 lakh people have been screened and 30,054 people have been provided with spectacles. As many as 5,341 patients have undergone cataract surgeries. In a special drive, over one lakh schoolchildren have also been screened,” Mr. Sriramulu said.
Mr. Sriramulu also expressed content over having served people as a Minister thrice and MLA five times.
“Since 2006, I have been elected as Member of Legislative Assembly five times and served as a Minister thrice. I feel contended to have served as Minister for Backward Classes Welfare when the notion of social justice is entering a new phase,” he said.