Centre has not released "single paisa" for drought relief: K'taka CM

Karnataka has declared 223 of 236 taluks in the state as drought-hit, and decided to increase the employment days under MGNREGS, pending approval from the Centre

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah (photo: National Herald archives)
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah (photo: National Herald archives)


Accusing the Union government of not releasing funds for drought relief to Karnataka, chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday claimed his letters to the government seeking assistance and enhancement of employment days for those affected have gone unanswered.

The Karnataka government has declared 223 out of the total 236 taluks in the state as drought hit. "We have started all drought relief work, like supplying drinking water, providing fodder for livestock, giving employment to people," Siddaramaiah said.

Speaking to reporters in Vijayapura, he said the state has decided to increase the employment days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from 100 days to 150 days a year in view of the severe drought in the state, but the Central government is required to give permission for this.

"We have written a letter to the Centre, but there is no reply till today," he said. Noting that it has been more than a month since the state government submitted its drought memorandum seeking relief from the Centre, following which a Central team too visited the state for inspection, Siddaramaiah said as of today, "they have not given even a single paisa as drought relief".

The Karnataka cabinet on 16 November expressed serious concern over the delay by the Central government in the release of drought relief funds to the state.

Last week, too, Siddaramaiah had written to Union home minister Amit Shah, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar to expedite the process of releasing drought relief funds to the state.

The CM also pointed out that he had written to the Centre seeking changes in the norms to declare an area as drought-hit, but there has been no reply to that either. "They (Centre) have neither made any changes, nor have they responded to my letter," he said.

Replying to a question on an alleged remark by BJP state president BY Vijayendra that deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar was conspiring to force Siddaramaiah to step down from the CM's post, the CM said, "We will look into our party issues."

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