States fail to utilise Rs 57,000 cr meant for water projects

State Plan Planning Commission Deputy Chairman D H Shankarmurthy, who was here to attend a private programme, made the shocking disclosure that the amount was returned to the Centre even though the State’s drinking water problems continued.

“If the fund was utilised, the drinking water woes of the State would have come down drastically,” Shankarmurthy said. According to the official, “the Planning Commission’s estimate is that Karnataka requires Rs 60,000 crores to arrange for the supply of clean and safe drinking water.

 It is a tough task for the State Government to mobilise the funds. However, since drinking water is a basic necessity, the Centre provides nearly 60 per cent of the funds needed, which is Rs 48,000 crore and the State provides the rest”.

Explaining the basis of Karnataka Vision-2020, which aimed at providing education, road, drinking water to the people, Shankarmurthy said a draft outline was ready and the Cabinet had approved it.

Coming down heavily on the political leadership, the State plan panel official said there was no paucity of funds, but a lack of political will has caused the non-implementation of the schemes outlined in the draft. Responding to a query about the loans drawn by the State Government recently, he said that in the last fiscal about Rs 8,000 crore tax was not collected. In such circumstances, he felt that either announcing new projects should be withheld or loan must be procured.

The RBI has expressed appreciation about the financial management of the State and approved further procurement of Rs 600 crore loan, he said.

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