Karnataka cabinet voices concern over delay in drought relief by Centre

Karnataka cabinet voices concern over delay in drought relief by Centre

Bengaluru, Nov 16 (PTI) The Karnataka cabinet on Thursday expressed serious concern over the delay in the release of drought relief funds to the state, by the central government.

Briefing reporters about cabinet decisions, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister H K Patil urged the Centre to be 'equally sensitive' and address the state's concerns immediately. He also called the delay in release of funds as 'injustice' to Karnataka.

The Karnataka government has declared 223 out of the total 236 taluks in the state as drought hit.

'The cabinet discussed drought management. The Centre has not provided any assistance till now. We have expressed our serious concern about it,' the Minister said.

Pointing out that a total of 46 lakh hectares of crop loss has been estimated in the state, he said even the rabi season seems to be a concern.

Urging the union government to expedite the process, and release the funds at the earliest, Patil said, 'Maybe if they don't take any further action in a week or so, the Government of Karnataka may take some decision...the Government of India will have to be equally sensitive. When we are expressing our concern, shouldn't they respond?' The CM and concerned Minister are pursuing the matter with the Centre, he said, 'all measures such as inspection by the central team of officers is over, they were convinced about the situation in the state and have submitted their report to the union government.' 'After all this, if they (central government) remain quiet, one must understand their mentality. Karnataka cannot tolerate this step motherly attitude,' the Minister said.

Asked whether the state government is contemplating holding any demonstration against the Centre as a mark of protest, he said, 'the state government has not yet decided, let them (Centre) be sensitive, it is the duty of the central government to at least give a minimum response in a federal system.' Politics should not be a reason for the delay, he further said and hit out at state BJP and its 25 MPs for not doing enough in getting the drought relief funds released. 'Instead, they are doing a drought study tour in the state,' he chided.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had on Wednesday 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 the drought relief funds to the state.

The cabinet today also gave its approval to extend the tenure of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed under the Karnataka Lokayukta to look into cases of mining related illegalities up to June 30, 2024, while expressing serious dissatisfaction about the progress of investigation and action.

Noting that in the last five years in 172 cases even preliminary investigation has not taken place, and in 10 criminal cases filed -- the investigation is still pending, the Minister said the cabinet took serious note of it, as he said charge sheets have not been filed in several cases.

At the meeting, discussions also took place on ensuring faster disposal of about 59 such illegal mining related cases that are pending before courts, he said. 'The Chief Minister will review things, and the government will look at ensuring positive action for the progress of investigation, and further filing of cases,' he added.

The cabinet also approved Rs 12.24 crore for installation of CCTV cameras at wholesale warehouses in the state.

To provide financial and social support to specially-abled persons, the cabinet has today approved to call a tender for motorized bicycles that will be provided to around 4,000 registered beneficiaries, at the cost of Rs 30 crore. PTI KSU KSU ROH

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