KARNATAKA

`Funds for power sector should not have been reduced'

BANGALORE, MARCH 17. At a time when the State is reeling under severe power shortage, the Government should not have reduced the allocation for the sector from Rs. 2,700 crores to Rs. 1,853 crores, D.H. Shankaramurthy, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, said today.

Speaking during the discussion on the budget, Mr. Shankaramurthy (Bharatiya Janata Party) said it is regrettable that from a power surplus State in the 1950s and '60s, Karnataka has been reduced to a power-starved State, even as Gujarat is enticing investors with 24-hour power supply. He said he was shocked to find that satellite imagery "does not pick up Bihar and Karnataka at night because the sensors cannot pick up light signals from the two States.

"While Gujarat is offering power and other facilities, Karnataka has not gone beyond making promises, and it has now reduced the allocation for the power sector. None of the power projects seems to be progressing, Mr. Shankaramurthy said.

V.S. Acharya (BJP) said it is unfortunate that Bangalore alone, which requires at least 2,500 MW of power, is yet to become self-reliant with a dedicated power plant. He wondered how the Government hopes to deliver with a smaller budget when it is already overburdened with huge transmission and distribution losses and an increasing demand for power.

Waste management

Mr. Shankaramurthy said the State is in danger of becoming a garbage dump, and plastics have invaded even the remote corners.

The Government must come out with a comprehensive policy on solid waste management, and set about honouring the Supreme Court directives on the issue.

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