Strongly defending his government's flood relief measures, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Friday said his administration has taken steps "beyond its limits". Listing out the financial aid being given to the affected and displaced, he claimed that no other state had been able to give such a large amount of relief in the past.
Replying in the assembly to the debate on the situation in flood ravaged regions and relief work taken up so far, he pointed out that rains in early August was a record in 110 years, resulting in floods and large-scale destruction. "The state government has gone beyond its limits to give relief to the affected and displaced due to rains and floods..
Within our limits we have done the best possible and in the next budget we will provision more to help those affected," Yediyurappa said. He claimed that it was the first time that any state government was providing such large-scale relief.
"I'm saying this with responsibility... We fully understand that if a government cannot respond to the needs of its people in distress, it is like dead." Noting that Rs five lakh each was being given for reconstruction to those whose houses have been damaged, he said Rs one lakh was being released now for laying foundation. On crop loss compensation, he said NDRF norms stipulated that Rs 6,800 per hectare was to be given. The state would now add Rs 10,000 per hectare to it, he said.
For horticulture crops, the state would add Rs 10,000 per hectare to the Rs 13,500 per hectare that was to be given as per norms, he said. For irrigated land Rs 18,000 per hectare is the norm and the government would add Rs 10,000 per hectare, he said.
Yediyurappa said Rs 25,000 would be given to damaged looms and shops and pointed out that for the first time Rs 10,000 has been given as immediate relief to people affected by floods, which was to the tune of Rs 203 crore. A total of 2798 villages in 103 taluks of 22 districts was hit by floods and around seven lakh people were shifted to safer areas.
Ninety one people died and about 3,400 heads of cattle perished in the rains and floods. In his reply, Revenue Minister R Ashoka said complete transparency was being maintained in providing relief as money was being deposited in bank accounts of beneficiaries through RTGS.
"We have taken precaution so that there is no room for corruption," he said. He said 7,54,191 hectares of agriculture crops, 1.09 lakh hectares if horticulture crop, 1.06 lakh ha coffee and 244.48 ha of silk were damaged in the floods and 21,818 km of roads, 11,063 government buildings were also damaged.
Pointing out that the centre has released Rs 1,200 crore as interim relief, he said Rs 1,035 crore would be used as assistance for those whose crops were damaged. The minister also clarified that the treasure was not empty as being alleged and that Rs 1,391 crore was in the account of Deputy Commissioners of various districts.
On the drought in some parts of the state, he said 49 taluks are facing drought and an announcement would be made in this regard within two to three days. Unhappy with the government's response and demanding more compensation to the affected, Congress staged a walk out.
A move by senior Congress MLA H K Patil to move a motion, seeking to declare floods in the state as a "national calamity" was also objected by the ruling side. Earlier, participating in the debate, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah targeted the government over its "failure" in providing relief to affected and said "if you (government) can't address the needs of the people in distress, quit." He also urged the government to spend money generously for relief work from its treasury and try to get more funds from the centre for the purpose.
JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy asked the government to take it as a "challenge" and respond to the needs of the people. "This is not an issue or time to do politics," he said as he extended his party's cooperation to the government in relief measures and requested that all anomalies be cleared.
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