Hailstorm, untimely rains: govt to speed up assistance

Bangalore, June 23, 2014, PTI:

Hailstorm, untimely rains: govt to speed up assistance

Karnataka Revenue Minister Srinivas Prasad today said the state government would take necessary steps to expedite the process of providing assistance to farmers for replanting horticultural crops hit by untimely rains and hailstorms early last month.

The government has already released Rs 320 crore assistance to farmers, he said, but admitted that the relief has not reached them due to "technical reasons."

Government would utilise the fund released from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to compensate farmers and others who had suffered crop and property loss owing to hailstorm, he told the state Assembly.

The hailstorm had damaged rabi crops, including wheat, pulses, oilseeds and horticultural crops in over two lakh hectares in Yadagir, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Raichur, Koppal, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts.

Government had submitted a memorandum to a central study team, which toured the state in March and urged the Centre to calculate the financial aid on the basis of the extent of loss, Prasad said.

Raising the issue, Opposition BJP Leader Jagadish Shettar flayed the government for failing to provide assistance to farmers. Former minister Vishveshwar Hegde Kageri (BJP) demanded that the government avail central help, but not before submitting the utilisation certificate to the Centre.

"Without utilisation certificates we cannot get additional central grants," he said. Prasad said he has given instructions to 11 deputy commissioners of as many districts to submit the utilisation certificates as soon as possible.

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