Centre releases only part of drought relief, state in a fix

Centre releases only part of drought relief, state in a fix
Karnataka is in a fix as the Centre has released just Rs 450 crore of the Rs 1,782.44 crore under the National Disaster Relief Fund for relief work in drought-hit areas in the state.

Though the high-power committee headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh had earlier approved Rs 1,782.44 crore to Karnataka for relief work in drought-hit areas, the Centre released less than half the amount in the first instalment.

Karnataka, which had already promised farmers that it would directly deposit the relief money into their accounts, is wondering how to disburse the meagre amount. “If we release this money to a few farmers, the state government will face the wrath of the rest of the farmers who too have suffered crop loss,” said an official.

 Besides, though the finance ministry had communicated to the state on February 6 that the money was released, so far, the money has not been credited to the state government's account.

“Though the state hopes the money will be credited in a day or two, it is up to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to decide whether to distribute this money to farmers or to districts facing severe water crisis,” said the official.

State government officials also believe the Centre should have released the funds in one tranche instead of in instalments. Besides, the state is also waiting for the Centre's response for its plea to send an expert team to assess winter crop loss due to dry weather.

 Earlier in the day, Chamarajnagar MP Dhruvanarayan in the Lok Sabha demanded that the Centre release more money to Karnataka to take up relief work in calamity-hit areas.

However, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Ananth Kumar said the Centre is aware of the situation in the state and promised to address the problems. 
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