While the Karnataka government had sought Rs 2,434 crore to compensate for the crop losses in drought-hit districts, the Centre approved only Rs 949.49 crore aid.

Centres drought aid for Ktaka less than 40 of actual request Dinesh Gundu Rao to PM
news Politics Sunday, February 03, 2019 - 18:19

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President Dinesh Gundu Rao bemoaned the central government's apparent favouritism in disbursing drought-aid relief to the state. On January 29, the central government had announced Rs 949.49-crore aid to drought-hit Karnataka. However, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Dinesh, who had requested a ‘minimum’ of Rs 500 crore, pointed out that only a fraction of the funds requested for drought-relief was approved.

"The Karnataka Government sought relief aid of Rs 2,434 crore to compensate for the crop losses in drought-hit districts. Our government in Karnataka had declared 86 taluks in 23 districts drought-affected during the Kharif season in 2018 and an additional 14 taluks in nine districts were also declared as severely drought affected. However, your government only approved Rs 949.49 crore aid. The relief measure announced for Karnataka by your government makes up for less than 40% of the actual request for drought assistance," read the letter.

Read: Centre gives Rs 949 cr aid to drought-hit Karnataka

Dinesh further decried the central government's decision to declare assistance of Rs 4,714. 28 crores for drought-relief measures in Maharashtra  "On the other hand, your government's assistance to the State of Maharashtra stood at Rs 4,714,28 crores. I would like to let you know that this show of favouritism by your government is not appreciated by the people of Karnataka," the letter further read.  

According to the Karnataka State Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), as many as 100 out of 175 taluks in Karnataka are reeling under the effects of drought. The state government has announced a farm loan waiver scheme to help farmers abate the crisis. In comparison, BJP-ruled Maharashtra has declared that 151 out of 358 taluks are affected by drought, as per a report.

The Karnataka government had earlier stated that a total of 26.18 lakh hectares of agricultural area and 1.94 lakh hectares of horticulture area have suffered more than 33% crop loss. A Congress-JD(S) coalition government is in power in Karnataka.

Dinesh further requested the central government to pay the workers employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). "Our government requested to ensure timely payments for jobs under MGNREGA but your government's apathy towards the state continued. Mandatory payment of MGNREGA workers to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore is pending in Karnataka. It is a violation of the law and it is a burden that most vulnerable people cannot bear," he added in the letter.