Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah criticized the central government on Monday, highlighting that no drought relief funds had been released to Karnataka yet. He expressed disappointment that his letters seeking assistance and an extension of employment days for those affected had gone unanswered.
The Karnataka government has declared 223 out of the total 236 taluks in the state as drought-hit, prompting various relief measures such as supplying drinking water, providing livestock fodder, and creating employment opportunities.
Siddaramaiah mentioned that the state government had taken the initiative to increase employment days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from 100 to 150 days per year due to the severe drought conditions. However, the Chief Minister noted that the central government’s permission is required for this, and despite sending a letter, there has been no response.
Expressing concern over the delay in the release of drought relief funds, Siddaramaiah stated that it has been more than a month since the state government submitted its drought memorandum to the Centre, and yet no financial assistance has been provided.
Last week, Siddaramaiah wrote to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, urging them to expedite the release of drought relief funds to the state.
The Chief Minister also revealed that he had written to the Centre seeking changes in the norms for declaring drought, but there has been no response or modifications made by the central government.
Responding to questions about an alleged remark by BJP state President B Y Vijayendra regarding Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar’s alleged conspiracy against Siddaramaiah, the Chief Minister simply stated, “We will look into our party issues.”