Govt not delaying Lokayukta appointment: CM

Addressing the media on Saturday, Gowda, who completed 90 days in office, said the Government had made its recommendation, and that the matter now rested with the Governor. “The ball is in the Governor’s court.

The Government is not adopting delay tactics. It is a sensitive subject. The Government has made its recommendations, and the Governor had sought some clarifications, which I have given. Unless the papers come back from his office, the matter cannot be furthered,” he said.

Why Sriramulu?

Asked why the BJP was going all out to win back Sriramulu and field him as the candidate for the Bellary Rural bypoll, Gowda said that his party selected a candidate based on three criteria.

“Recommendations made by the local units of the party, the winnability factor, and the present political scene in the State are taken into consideration while selecting a candidate. I have spoken to Sriramulu and he has said that he would revert to me.

The party has however not finalised the candidate,” he added.

Petrol price hike

Gowda said the latest petrol hike indicated that the UPA government had no concern for the common people. Taking a cue from the Trinamool Congress and the Left parties, he said: “I urge the Centre to roll back the latest hike in petrol rate. I also caution the Centre not to resort to further increase the prices of cooking gas and diesel.”

However, when asked about Karnataka’s obstinacy over non-reduction of cess over petrol, Gowda said the Government was finally examining the matter. He said he was holding a discussion with the Finance department over the feasibility of reducing the cess, and would announce the decision shortly.

“The situation is precarious. Though there is a growth of 22 per cent in taxes, we are facing drought in 99 taluks. To make matters worse, the Government is losing out on additional revenue of Rs 4,500 crore from the mining sector. The circumstances are not feasible for a cess reduction,” he added.

No dearth of funds

Gowda said the Opposition leaders were making irrelevant comments regarding the financial position of the State and the Government’s handling of the drought situation. “The State’s financial position is very sound. A total of Rs 25,137 crore has been collected from four major State taxes in the first seven months of the current year, registering 22 per cent growth.”

He added that there was no dearth of funds for drought relief works. He said his Government had initiated several measures to ensure good governance with speedy delivery system. For instance, he said the Government was making efforts to amend the Indian Registration Act in six months so that all citizens can register their properties from anywhere in Karnataka.

Efforts are also on to allow citizens to register their properties online. The Citizens Charter too was introduced towards providing better and responsive administration and to bring down corruption in the process.

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