Severe criticism from various quarters has forced Karnataka Water Minister MB Patil to declare that he will personally bear the cost of conducting pujas to appease the rain gods.
Patil had on Thursday said that the government will conduct pujas in Krishna and Cauvery rivers, considering the state was reeling under a third consecutive term of drought. This was declared at a time the MeT department has predicted that monsoon will hit Karnataka on June 4. He had said that the state-run Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited has allotted Rs 10 lakh each to conduct the puja.
After his statements, he was subject to severe criticism, even from the state's Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who said that pujas cannot bring rain. MB Patil said on Friday that he will personally bear the cost of conducting the pujas.
â€œIt has been our culture and tradition to perform pujas for the two rivers and we had set aside money for it. But since the media has portrayed it as unwanted expenditure, I have personally decided to bear the cost of the pujas. No money from the government will be used," The Times of India published portions of Patil's statement to the press.
The minister, his wife and some 10 officials from the department reportedly took part in the puja conducted in Mahabaleshwar, where river Krishna originates.
Deccan Herald reports that while the minister claimed the expenses of the puja will be borne by him and his friends, the travel expenses of the officials were borne by the government.
Another puja will be conducted in Cauvery basin at its origin Bhagamandala in Kodagu district on June 4.
Offering prayers to river Krishna & almighty; being done since time immemorial. Proud to do so out of simple humility. Criticism is welcome. pic.twitter.com/disVgo1bFTâ€” M B Patil (@reachmbp) June 2, 2017