The politicking over the relief sought in floods and landslides-affected Kodagu district of Karnataka took centre stage on Saturday after former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah claimed that 'step-motherly' treatment was being meted out to Karnataka by the Centre.
Taking to Twitter, he vented his ire over the Prime Minister's decision to delegate the task of assessing the ground situation in Kodagu to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
"I condemn the stepmotherly treatment by @PMOIndia in releasing relief funds. We expected PM @narendramodi to assess the loss instead it was delegated to @DefenceMinIndia, who was more interested in dominating our state minister. This reflects @BJP4India 's apathy towards Ktaka," he tweeted.
I condemn the stepmotherly treatment by @PMOIndia in releasing relief funds. We expected PM @narendramodi to assess the loss instead it was delegated to @DefenceMinIndia, who was more interested in dominating our state minister. This reflects @BJP4India 's apathy towards Ktaka.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) August 25, 2018
Siddaramaiah’s dig at the BJP is in reference to the Defence Minister’s visit to Kodagu on Friday. Nirmala Sitharaman had a verbal spat with a Karnataka minister, who had asked her to wrap her press conference.
Meanwhile, the Defence Minister has said that the Centre's financial aid to the region in distress will be decided after an assessment of the loss.
In a letter to PM Narendra Modi, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday had sought Rs 2,000 crore interim relief from the central government for relief and rehabilitation of flood victims in Kodagu. "As per preliminary estimates, the losses caused by damages to infrastructure, crops, public properties etc are to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore (subject to final estimation) and likely to go up as the assessment is in progress. There is a large scale destruction of agricultural crop. Coffee, spices, arecanut and other plantation estates have also been completely ravaged due to landslides and mudslides," reads the letter.
The development in the state comes even as neighbouring Kerala continues to press the Centre for more funds to help flood-affected victims. The central government had designated the floods in Kerala as a Level 3 disaster, constituted as a ‘Calamity of Severe Nature'. The Union government has so far granted Rs 600 crore to Kerala for flood relief, with the Health Ministry on Friday sanctioning an additional Rs 18.71 crore to the state.
With rains in Kodagu subsiding earlier in the week, the extent of the damage to the villages in the district is being assessed by district authorities. While the CM had stated that 12 people have been killed in the Kodagu rains, local authorities had told TNM that 11 bodies have been recovered so far, with 9 persons reported missing in the district. Thousands of residents in the district, who had sought shelter at relief camps, are now trickling back to their homes. As many as 34 relief camps were set up in the district, which are now gradually being merged by the district authorities.