BENGALURU: Despite Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa claiming that his government is going beyond its capacity to provide flood relief, an unconvinced Congress staged a walkout from the Assembly on Friday.
After two days of discussion on the mammoth floods that left 22 districts ravaged, the BJP-led state government listed out the measures it had taken and the compensation it has laid out for victims of floods.
The Congress, led by Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, staged a walkout after the Speaker disallowed its attempt to pass a motion asking for the floods to be declared a national calamity. The government refusing to increase compensation for crop loss fuelled the Congress’ protest with the party ultimately staging a walkout.
The House will reconvene on Saturday -- the last day of the three-day winter session -- to take up the finance bill.
“Compensation cap according to NDRF norms for those who have lost homes in the floods is Rs 95,000, but we have announced Rs 5 lakh for an estimated 42,893 houses. The per hectare compensation under NDRF norm is Rs 6,800 for agriculture crops in rain-fed areas, Rs 13,500 for agriculture and horticulture crops in irrigated areas and Rs 18,000 for perennial crops, but we have added Rs 10,000 to the prescribed amount to make it Rs 16,800, Rs 23,500, Rs 28,000 respectively,” said Yediyurappa, responding to the opposition’s query on what compensation the government was giving out. “Given today’s financial status, we are going out of our way to do everything beyond our capacity to provide relief,” Yediyurappa added.
More than 22 MLAs spoke about the flood-relief operations in the state with Congress and JDS MLAs accusing the government of not doing enough with the BJP legislators defending not just the state government but the Centre too.
“Rs 1,035 crore of Rs 1,200 crore released by the Centre will be used to compensate crop loss and relief will be sent to farmers’ bank accounts directly through RTGS. The Centre has also released Rs 1,029 crore input subsidy from 2018 and Rs 240.26 crore out of it has already been released by the state government,” said R Ashoka, Revenue Minister, insisting that the rest of the funds will also be disbursed within a week.
Congress insisted that despite the state government increasing compensation from NDRF norms, it was minuscule.
“Growing sugarcane in one acre land costs about Rs 40,000. How will compensation of Rs 16,800 or Rs 23,500 per hectare bring any relief to the farmer?” asked Siddaramaiah. The Congress attacked the government on losing out on an opportunity to bring relief to farmers through Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to make insurance companies pay for crop loss.
The government, in its response, said that Rs 2,949 crore have been released from the state’s treasury towards flood-relief work. A total of Rs 1,391 crore were in the PD accounts of District Commissioners to aid relief work. Rs 14.58 crore has been disbursed to flood victims as either rent assistance or to build independent or community sheds. In addition, 49 taluks have been identified as drought-affected and will soon be announced officially as drought-hit.