Officials told to execute relief works on war-footing

Common problems due to drought in eight districts in Mysuru region

Officials told to execute relief works on war-footing

The Deputy Commissioners and other district-level officials from Mysuru region were directed to take up drought-relief measures on a war-footing making good use of the benefits extended by the government for drought-hit taluks.

The directions were issued by the Cabinet Sub-committee on Drought-relief, headed by Revenue and District In-charge Minister V Srinivas Prasad, at a meeting held at the office of the Regional Commissioner here on Wednesday.

While the DCs and Zilla Panchayat chief executive offices from eight districts explained the situation and the steps taken to tackle drought under their jurisdiction before the sub-committee, the MLAs and MLCs pointed out the lapses in implementation of the schemes.

The common problem in all districts, except Dakshina Kannada and Udupi, is scarcity of drinking water, failure of borewells, problems in getting power connection for drinking water projects, crop loss, failure to reach targets in sowing, empty lakes and ponds and failure of the officials in checking notices to farmers for repayment of loans.

Srinivas Prasad said, for the drinking water projects that are ready for operation but need only power connection, the government will directly make payment to the Escoms for giving service. “In view of providing drinking water to all, the government has already released Rs 50 crore and the officials concerned should forward such proposals and get the funds released,” he said.

Pointing out that the Union government has announced new guidelines for disbursement of compensation for crop loss, under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF), he said the amount of compensation is likely to be increased.

“The State government is also seeking more funds under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in view of drought in almost 150 taluks out of a total of 175 taluks, in the State. Under MNGREGA, each beneficiary would be provided 150 days of work,” he added.

Agriculture Minister Krishna Bhyregowda called upon the legislators to popularise cultivation of millets like ragi, which require less water, but is highly remunerative.

“The government is procuring ragi at Rs 2,000 per quintal, while the sugar factories are struggling to pay Rs 2,500 per tonne of sugarcane. The procurement price of ragi may be increased by another Rs 100 to encourage its cultivation,” he said.

Legislators from Hassan, Chikkamagaluru and Kodagu districts said, the farmers of the Malnad region are being neglected by the government as their plantation crops such as arecanut, coffee, pepper, etc are not considered for compensation in case of loss.

They also sought relief towards damage caused due to excessive rains in the month of June.

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