Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who has been a vocal opponent of lockdown, went a step ahead on Monday and said he had asked deputy commissioners of all the districts to focus on development of the State instead of opting for lockdown to contain the pandemic.
“We need to learn to live with COVID-19. Instead of talking about lockdown as an option to tackle it, we must focus on development along with the pandemic,” Mr. Yediyurappa remarked hile addressing a programme organised to mark the first anniversary of his government in the State.
“I appeal to all the Ministers, legislators, MPs and officials to help stop pilferage, raise resources and focus on development. Let us make Karnataka a model State which is blessed with all the natural resources that are required for development.”
The 77-year-old Chief Minister, who came to power by toppling the erstwhile JD (S)-Congress coalition government with a promise of good governance and fast-paced development, said: “It brings tears in my eyes when I realise that we could have achieved more development if the COVID-19 had not haunted us. This pandemic has obstructed development.”
However, hoping that a good monsoon could contribute to robust agrarian economy, he said: “the State is witnessing good rainfall and 90 per cent of farmers are involved in farming activities.”
Remarking that he was indebted to people of the State, Mr. Yediyurappa said the time had come to show the gratitude in terms of development. “My intention is to ensure that all the poor families in the State have a shelter in the next three years,” he said, and added that he would toil hard for the welfare of people in the remaining period of the term.
He defended the sweeping changes brought about to the Land Reforms Act and APMC Act through ordinance route. Only 2 per cent of farm land has been used for industrial development so far. We want to fight unemployment problem by increasing the share of industrial land, he maintained and stressed the need for creating public awareness in this regard in a bid to prevent the Opposition from ‘misleading’ the people. Similarly, the amendments to the APMC would help farmers to sell their crops anywhere and get remunerative prices, he claimed.
Listing various ongoing projects, he said Mekedatu balancing reservoir project was being taken up for implementation. Also, the groundwater level was bound to improve in various parts of the State due to the project to fill up 1,130 tanks.
Indicating that he would never toe the line of friction, Mr. Yediyurappa, who has detractors both inside and outside the party, said: “I never indulged in politics of vendetta. I respect even those who criticise me. My intention is to develop the State with the cooperation of everyone.”
A book containing achievements of various departments in the last one year and another one that has a collection of articles by authors from different fields were brought out on the occasion.
BJP State President Nalin Kumar Kateel and several prominent political personalities were present on the occasion.