KARNATAKA

State to submit fresh memo on drought

GULBARGA Nov. 1. The Home Minister, Mallikarjun Kharge, said today that the State Government would soon submit a fresh memorandum to the Centre seeking additional funds and foodgrains to tackle the drought in the State.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Kharge, who is also the Chairman of the Cabinet subcommittee on drought management, said the State Government had already directed all the Deputy Commissioners and Chief Executive Officers to submit reports on the situation in their respective districts. Based on these reports, the Government would prepare the fresh memorandum to be submitted to the Centre. He said that the previous memorandum submitted to the Centre pertained to the situation prevailing in the months preceding August. The fresh memorandum would contain the details of the drought situation in August, September and October.

Mr. Kharge said the Government would wait for the response of the Centre to the memorandum seeking more than Rs. 200 crore for relief measures in the flood-hit areas in Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada, and Bidar districts before submitting the fresh memorandum seeking additional funds for tackling the drought. Based on the State Government's memorandum, a Central study team had visited the flood-hit areas and submitted its finding to the Union Government. However, the centre had not responded to findings submitted by the Central study team, he said.

Although some parts of the State had received rainfall, most of the drought-hit areas were still facing a crisis. The recent rains had only helped take up rabi sowing, but would not help solve the drinking water shortage expected in the coming months. The State Government was also preparing to ease the acute shortage of fodder expected from February till the onset of the monsoon next year.

The rains had not helped in improving the groundwater level and there was a likelihood of several parts of the State facing a severe drinking water shortage next summer.

Mr. Kharge said there was no basis in the claims of the Opposition parties that drought relief funds and foodgrains provided by the Centre had been misused. Several agencies, including the legislature and the Lokayukta, were closely monitoring the use of funds and foodgrains.

The Government was ready to provide a status paper during the next Assembly session on the drought relief measures undertaken by the Government, he said..

To a question, Mr. Kharge said the notification making it compulsory for two-wheeler riders to wear helmets as per the directions of the Karnataka High Court would be issued after the matter was discussed threadbare by senior officials of the Transport and Police department in consultation with the Law Department.

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