Chief minister slams Centre for 'delaying' aid for drought relief

Chief minister slams Centre for 'delaying' aid for drought relief
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday slammed the Centre for the “delay” in providing financial assistance for drought relief works, saying that “the Centre is acting as if it is giving alms”. “Are they (Centre) giving us alms?...We are entitled to the assistance. The 14th Finance Commission has recommended to the Centre to provide assistance to states when they face major problems. It has laid down certain rules and norms to the Centre for giving the assistance,” he told reporters, who sought his reaction to the delay in releasing the assistance.

Then prime minister Manmohan Singh had conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected places in north Karnataka in October 2009 and announced releasing Rs 2,000 crore for relief work on the spot, he said. The state government submitted its memorandum to the Centre in October last year, seeking Rs 4,702 crore. But the Centre has not released a single paisa, he said.

“We have only learnt that the Centre has taken a decision to sanction Rs 1,782.44 crore, but there is no official communication from the Centre in this regard,” he stated. He criticised the state BJP leaders for reportedly blaming the state government for not giving compensation to the affected farmers despite the Centre releasing the money.

Instead of making baseless charges, BJP leaders should impress upon the Centre on the need for taking up immediate relief works and ensure that the assistance is released at the earliest, he added.

Memorandum in Feb
Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa said the state government will, in the first week of next month, submit another memorandum to the Centre seeking assistance for crop loss during the rabi season. The government is yet to estimate the total damage, he added.

Responding to the comments, Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda charged the Siddaramaiah government with failing on all fronts. “Instead of criticising the Centre, the chief minister and his Cabinet colleagues should quit,” Gowda said.

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