NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured a decision on release of Rs. 4,702 crore drought relief to Karnataka for kharif crop loss in 2016 will be taken on January 4, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said.
An all-party delegation led by Mr Siddaramaiah today called on Mr Modi and requested him to release the entire drought relief fund sought by the state.
He also asked the Centre to release second installment of Rs. 2,856 crore under MNREGA at the earliest and also discussed Mahadayi inter-state water dispute issue with Mr Modi.
The delegation included senior state BJP leaders Jagdish Shettar and K S Eshwarappa, JD (S) leaders H D Revanna and Appaji Gowda as well as state government representative in Delhi Appaji Nadagowda.
Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjuna Kharge as well as four Union ministers including Ananth Kumar, Sadananda Gowda and Nirmala Sitharaman were present in the meeting.
“We explained to the Prime Minister the extreme drought experienced in Karnataka. In the meeting, I was told a high-level meeting, headed by the Union Home Minister, has been called on January 4 to decide on the extent of drought relief to Karnataka,” Mr Siddaramaiah told media after the meeting.
“We have told the PM to put a word to the Ministers concerned to release the entire relief fund sought. The PM told he will talk to Ministers concerned,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the state has also sought additional Rs. 386 crore relief for kharif crop lost due to floods in five districts.
“The state has already spent Rs. 400 crore in drought-hit areas. If the Centre does not give the entire relief amount, it will be a burden on exchequer. We have asked them to release the funds soon,” he said.
In the meeting that lasted for 30 minutes, Mr Siddaramaiah also discussed the employment guarantee scheme MNREGA and sought the centre increase the number of man-days to 200 considering severe drought situation in the state.
He also sought release of the second installment of MNREGA funds of Rs. 2,856 crore to the state at the earliest. Out of Rs. 3,945 crore allotted to the state under MNREGA, the Centre has so far released Rs. 1,860 crore, he added.
On the Mahadayi issue, Mr Siddaramaiah said he told the PM that a meeting of three state Chief Ministers to resolve the dispute amicably out of court could not be convened yet.
Karnataka has been facing severe drought for the past six years. The drought in 2016-17 was the worst in 40 years. The state has declared 139 taluks out of 176 drought-hit.
The state had a normal monsoon in June-July this year, but it witnessed a prolonged dry spell in August, September and October affecting agriculture, power generation, ground water recharge, drinking water supply and fodder availability.