Karnataka seeks sanction of over ₹5,000-crore Central funds for drought relief
It has already submitted a memorandum seeking Central aid of ?4,702 crore for drought-hit farmers in the 2016 kharif season, and ?386 crore to take up relief works in the flood-hit areas. The chief minister has also appealed the Central Government to release Rs 968 crore special grant to the state.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and requested them to sanction drought and flood relief funds of over ₹5,000 crore from the Central Government under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to the state.
According to sources, Siddaramaiah briefed the Home Minister about the impact of drought and floods on agricultural crops as well as the farming community.
In the meeting with the Union Home Minister, the Chief Minister informed him that the state had already submitted a memorandum seeking Central aid of ₹4,702 crore for drought-hit farmers in the 2016 kharif season, and ₹386 crore to take up relief works in the flood-hit areas.
A Central team, which visited the state last month to assess the situation, has already submitted the report, based on which the Agriculture Ministry has prepared a note.
In a separate meeting with the Union Agriculture Minister, Siddaramaiah raised concerns about delay in releasing Central aid to drought-hit farmers.
He urged the Union Minister to announce a bonus of ₹700 per quintal over and above the support price for the millets to promote their cultivation.
The Central government has already declared the minimum support price (MSP) for ragi at ₹1,725/quintal, jowar hybrid at ₹1,625/quintal and jowar Maldani at ₹1,650/quintal for the 2016-17 crop year (July-June).
“We strongly urge an enhancement of MSP for ragi and jowar for this season. Since MSP has already been announced, at this stage declaration of bonus can be considered as an option,” Siddaramaiah said.
In a representation made to the Agriculture Ministry, Siddaramaiah said that the state wants to promote production of these two nutri-cereals, which are ‘climate smart crops’ and can be grown in rainfed and drought-prone areas.
According to sources, the Home Minister is expected to soon call a meeting to decide on the quantum of relief funds to be released to Karnataka from the NDRF.
Karnataka is facing drought for the sixth consecutive year, and has declared 139 talukas in 25 districts as drought-hit.
The chief minister has also appealed the Central Government to release ₹968 crore special grant to the state.
He told the Union Home Minister that Karnataka has incurred a loss of ₹17,193 crore due to the severe drought.
“Our government has taken up drought relief works such as supplying drinking water, fodder for cattle and employment for labourers on a war footing in the state. Our government has declared 139 taluks as drought affected and panchayat raj department has already spent ₹204 crore in 2016-17 on drought relief works,’’ he said.
He said ₹362.25 crore was required for providing additional supplementary nutrition at anganwadis for small children, nursing mothers and pregnant mothers in drought-affected 139 taluks. “We need ₹74 crore for water supply in Bengaluru,’’ he said.
State to file review plea on Cauvery
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said the state government would file a review petition before the Supreme Court seeking a modification of its order that Karnataka continue to release 2,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu every day. “Legal experts will be consulted in this regard,” he said. Siddaramaiah, however, welcomed the Supreme Court decision that it had Constitutional powers to hear the appeals filed by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala against the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal final award.