BANGALORE: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has assured farmers that the government won’t recover loans now and will convert short-term loans into long-term ones in view of the drought in the state.
Replying to an adjournment motion by Opposition Leader Jagadish Shettar, Siddaramaiah said there is no dearth of funds and the government is well prepared to handle the drought.
The chief minister said the government is supplying water through tankers to more than 1,000 villages.
The authorities have been directed to prepare contingency plans for relief work in rural and urban areas, he said and added that the government will release sufficient funds.
Accusing the BJP of politicising the drought, Siddaramaiah said the party has no moral right to question the government. Unhappy with the chief minister’s response, the BJP members staged a walkout.
Lowest Rainfall in 52 Years
Revenue Minister V Srinivasa Prasad said June 2014 has recorded the lowest rainfall in 52 years. He said the government has spent `180 crore for drought relief. “Sowing has been completed in 18.92 lakh hectares against 74 lakh hectares. Alternative crops have been planned in case of crop failure, and 7.46 lakh tonnes of fertilisers have been supplied against the demand of 20.50 lakh tonnes. The government has opened 10 goshalas and has a stock of 170 tonnes fodder,” the minister said.
The state and union governments have provided enough funds for taking up drinking water projects, he said.
Earlier, Shettar claimed that the government has failed to tackle the drought and said most of the relief work programmes are only on paper. He accused the chief minister of not focusing on reviewing the drought relief works.
Shettar said only five goshalas have been opened, but there needs to be more.
He urged the government to convene a meeting of banks and direct them to give loans for a second crop.
The BJP members alleged that the government has failed to check utilisation of funds by deputy commissioners as many of them have not released funds citing technical reasons.
JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy raised the issue of drought in Gulbaraga district and demanded that Sakleshpur be declared drought-hit.
Many places in Malnad too are facing drinking water crisis, he said.