BENGALURU: Pegging the overall damage caused by heavy rains, coastal erosion, flooding and landslides since June at about Rs 4,000 crore, Revenue Minister R Ashoka and Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday that the State needs immediate relief in the form of a special assistance package. In the absence of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa who was in hospital, Ashoka and Bommai participated in the video conference.
“Since we do not know when the rains will stop and what more damage we may have to face, we have sought for an advance of Rs 395 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund. The request for additional special assistance is to ensure the relief and rehabilitation process is not hindered. But there is no shortage of funds in the State. We have enough money to carry out rescue and relief operations. A sum of Rs 1,120 cr is available in the District Commissioner’s accounts,” said Ashoka.
With districts along the Krishna River basin bearing the brunt of flooding almost every year, Karnataka has proposed that an inter-state flood alert system be set up. “We have requested the Centre to set up an integrated flood forecasting system that will ensure a reporting and response system for all riparian states,” said Bommai. The State government has also sought the mapping of fragile landscapes in the Western Ghats and identifying landslide-prone regions.
“We have sought for the setting up of a landslide hazard mapping and monitoring system,” Bommai added.
Pointing out that erosion along the coastline is impacting life and livelihood in coastal districts, Karnataka has asked the Centre to include coastal erosion and sea erosion under the National Cyclone Relief Mitigation Project.
“The initiative of setting up a disaster management committee at the gram panchayat level by Ashoka was applauded by the PM. We will set up such committees in 876 gram panchayats in 13 districts,” Bommai said. Currently, the State has four units of NDRF personnel and 200 trained SDRF personnel. This apart, the State has sought four additional teams of NDRF for relief, rescue and rehabilitation measures.