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April 27, 2024

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Urges Swift Release of Drought Relief Funds from Centre

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced on Saturday that the Centre has released Rs 3,454 crore as drought relief, out of the approved Rs 3,499 crore. He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite the release of the remaining amount.

Expressing gratitude to the Supreme Court for its intervention, Siddaramaiah highlighted that the state had been promised Rs 18,171 crore according to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) rules. However, the Centre’s approval fell far short, allocating only Rs 3,498.98 crore. This amount, he emphasized, is insufficient to address the widespread drought situation in Karnataka.

“The Central government’s release of the relief funds was prompted not by genuine concern for Karnataka but rather due to pressure from the state government’s plea to the Supreme Court,” Siddaramaiah stated. He accused the Centre of unjust treatment towards Karnataka for political reasons, a stance supported by the Supreme Court during the recent hearings.

The Chief Minister revealed that during the court proceedings, the Centre assured the Supreme Court that the relief would be disbursed within a week. “This release of funds comes as a result of the Centre’s reluctance to fulfill its promise to the apex court,” he added, asserting that neither BJP leaders nor the Central government played any significant role in this relief allocation.

Siddaramaiah claimed that the relief grant was announced out of fear that failure to provide aid would jeopardize the BJP’s election campaign in the state, rather than genuine concern for the drought-affected people. He cautioned the public against viewing this relief as an achievement of the BJP leaders, urging them to hold the government accountable.

“While I appreciate the Central government’s step towards providing relief, I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release the remaining funds promptly,” Siddaramaiah stressed. Additionally, he called on the Centre to address the injustice in tax devolution, emphasizing the critical situation faced by Karnataka due to crop damage.

The Chief Minister reiterated that Karnataka had declared 223 taluks as drought-affected in September 2023, with crop damage reported at 48 lakh hectares, resulting in a loss of Rs 35,162 crore. Despite the state’s demand for Rs 18,171 crore in compensation, only a fraction of that amount has been released by the union government.

“Our fight for the remaining relief amount will continue,” Siddaramaiah affirmed, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive support from the Centre to alleviate the distress faced by farmers and communities affected by the drought in Karnataka.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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