Forms panel to tackle drought situation

Karnataka has sought Rs 11,489 crore financial assistance from the Centre to take up drought relief works in the State.

The State Chief Minister, Jagadish Shettar, addressing a meet-the-press programme, organised by Press Club of Bangalore and Bangalore Reporters’ Guild, said, “The State Government has reworked the memorandum to the Centre as advised by Union Ministers Sharad Pawar and Jairam Ramesh and sent it yesterday.”

The two Union Ministers had pulled up the State Government at the drought review meet recently for submitting a single comprehensive memorandum without any short or long term goals.

Shettar said on the advice of Union Ministers, the State Government has now submitted two memorandums — short term seeking Rs 7,672 crore to provide drinking water in rural areas, opening goshalas and for procuring fodder.

As part of long term plan, Rs 3,817 crore has been sought to compensate the farmers’ loss of crop and to provide jobs either through State or Central schemes, he added.

Due to failure of rains in the State, 146 taluks, out of 176 taluks, have been declared as drought affected.

Sowing has taken place only in 35.22 lakh hectares, compared with a target of 74.70 lakh hectares.

Crops sown in 2.37 lakh hectares have been lost due to the failure of monsoon rains.

Shettar said the State Government has spent around Rs 2,200 crore to tackle drought and has been providing drinking water in all the affected villages.

Goshalas

About 128 goshalas have been opened giving protection to 1.24 lakh cows and is planning to open 90 more goshalas.

The State Government has waved agriculture loans availed from co-operative banks to the extent of Rs 3,500 crore.

“A total of 18 lakh farmers in the State have taken a total loan amount of Rs 19,000 crore. Our request is for a waiver to the extent possible by the nationalised banks,” Shettar explained.

The Chief Minister said in order to effectively handle the drought in the State, he has formed a panel and distributed departments to regularly hold review meets once a week or fortnight. “I believe in collective leadership and have engaged the two Deputy Chief Ministers, K. S. Eshwarappa, and R. Ashoka, to assist me,” he said. anil.u@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 8, 2012)
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