CM Siddaramaiah flays Centre for not releasing ‘even a single paisa’ for drought relief to state


PTI, Nov 20, 2023, 3:34 PM IST

Targeting the central government, stating that it did not release even a single paisa so far as drought relief to Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday said his letters to the union 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 the drought relief works, like — supplying drinking water, providing fodder for livestock, giving employment to people,” Siddaramaiah said.

Speaking to reporters here, 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 has 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 that till today they have not given even a single paisa as drought relief.

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

Siddaramaiah last week too 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 drought, but there is no reply to that as well. ”They (Centre) have neither made any changes, nor have they responded to my letter.” Replying to a question on an alleged remark by BJP state President B Y Vijayendra that Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar was conspiring to make Siddaramaiah step down from CM post, the CM said, ”We will look into our party issues.”

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