Government's 'failure' to utilise Centre's funds criticised

R Ashoka, team visit drought affected areas at Gonikoppa

 Former deputy chief minister R Ashoka has urged the state government to distribute Rs 1,772 crore sanctioned by the Centre among the farmers who are affected by drought.

He was part of the BJP’s the drought assess team that visited Chenihadlu and Jungle haadi on Monday.

“Last year, the state government had failed to utilise the Rs 1,550 crore sanctioned by the Centre. Let the state government issue a white paper on the utilisation of fund sanctioned by the Centre last year,” he demanded.

“The district in-charge minister sitting at Fort Hall submits a report to the state government that there is no burning issue in Kodagu district. There is shortage of drinking water in the tribal colonies. The crops have been damaged following drought and wild elephant attacks. The state government has released only Rs 25 lakh to 102 gram panchayats to mitigate the drinking water crisis,” he said.

“The state government that claims to be in favour of farmers should release at least Rs 5,000 crore to solve the problems faced by the farmers. When the state government can spend Rs 2,500 crore for constructing a steel bridge in Bengaluru, why can the government not spend money for the welfare of the farmers,” he asked.

Ashoka also criticised the state government for its failure to take up drought relief works.
Earlier, the team visited tribal colonies near Thithimathi. The tribals aired their grievances on elephant menace, shortage of drinking water and failure to get title deeds, before the committee.

Tribal leader Subru said, “With deficit rainfall, the tribal colonies do not have potable water. The crops have dried without water. In addition, the elephants have destroyed coffee plants. We are living in fear and are scared to venture out of the house during night. Even after residing in the tribal haadi for generations, we have failed to get title deeds. The Forest Department officials are also torturing us.”

State BJP general secretary Tejaswini Gowda, spokesperson Narayanaswamy, Backward Class Morcha president Puttaswamy, MLA K G Bopaiah and others were present on the occasion.

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