KARNATAKA

‘Funds released for drought relief unused’

Drought talk: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah speaking to a farmer who lost his sunflower crop owing to inadequate rainfall, at Gobbur village in Afzalpur taluk in Gulbarga district on Tuesday.

Drought talk: Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah speaking to a farmer who lost his sunflower crop owing to inadequate rainfall, at Gobbur village in Afzalpur taluk in Gulbarga district on Tuesday.  

Special Correspondent

Centre has given Rs. 280 crore under CRF and NCRF



Congress to join delegation from State to press Centre to release more funds for drought relief

Supply of seeds to farmers free of cost and payment of compensation for crop loss demanded



Gulbarga: The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah said here on Tuesday that this year the Union Government, under the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) and Natural Calamity Relief Fund (NCRF) had released Rs. 153 crore. Besides, Rs. 127 crore released last year under these two heads was lying unused. He alleged that the State Government had not utilised Rs. 280 crore for drought relief work in affected areas of the State.

According to Mr. Siddaramaiah, if the State failed to utilise the first instalment funds, then, it would not be eligible to get the second instalment. After visiting several drought affected areas in Afzalpur and Aland taluks in Gulbarga district, he said that the State Government had not released the required funds to take up relief work in districts that were declared drought affected recently. There is severe shortage of fodder in drought-hit areas.

The Government should have released funds and drought relief work besides distribution of fodder should have been taken up by now. He said: “This only gives room to the suspicion that the State Government has diverted the funds released by the Union Government under the Calamity Relief Fund and the Natural Calamity Relief Fund for other purposes”.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that although some of the districts that had been declared drought-hit had received rainfall after August 20, the drought situation on the ground remained unchanged. Farmers who had invested money, time and energy in sowing kharif crops had suffered losses owing to inadequate rainfall. Mr. Siddaramaiah urged the State Government to supply seeds free of cost to farmers to take up sowing in the rabi season and ensure that they are supplied with adequate quantity of fertilizers. The Government should release funds for paying compensation to farmers who have suffered crop loss in the kharif season, he added.

As a result of drought, the farmers had not only suffered huge losses as the germinating crops had withered, they were also finding it difficult to make a living in the villages. The Government had failed to take up employment generating activities using funds under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA). Farmers on one hand had suffered crop loss on the other they were not provided with employment under the NREGA, so they were forced to migrate to bigger cities in search of job opportunities.

In reply to a query, Mr. Siddaramaiah said the Congress party was ready to cooperate with the State Government on issues that concern the interest of the State. This includes demanding more funds from the Union Government to take up drought relief works. He added that if the Opposition parties have to cooperate, it becomes imperative for the State Government to take them into confidence on issues concerning the State’s welfare.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said that Congress party leaders would join the delegation that the State Government proposed to take to the Union Government to pressure the Centre to release more funds to the State for taking up drought relief works.

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