No govt money being used for river poojas, says M B Patil

Water Resources Minister M B Patil said the expenses for the pooja that he performed at the birth place of River Krishna on Friday, was borne by him and his friend.

There were reports that the government would spend Rs 10 lakh to conduct Parjanya Homa at Bhagamandala, near the birth place of River Cauvery in Kodagu on Sunday, to invoke the blessings of the Rain God.

On Friday, Patil and his wife visited Mahabaleshwar, 130 km from Pune, where River Krishna takes birth and offered special pooja. Around 8 to 10 officials of his department too are said to have accompanied the minister.

Patil, in a media statement, said, “The criticism has hurt me. My friend and I will bear the expenses of the poojas at both places. Not a single rupee of the government would be spent.” However, he did not mention the friend’s name or the cost.  Sources in the government said the travel expenses of officers to Pune was borne by the government.

Patil said both Rivers Krishna and Cauvery are the lifelines of six crore people of Karnataka. The rivers are considered “mothers”, he said. “Conducting rituals is part of our tradition, culture and dharma. The Cauvery Neeravari Nigam had made a provision for spending Rs 10 lakh for the poojas. But the intention has been misunderstood. Hence, the government’s money would not be used.”

The minister said the rituals would be conducted at Bhagamandala on Sunday. Elected representatives and Sri Niramalanandanatha Swamiji would be present, he added.

Shettar chides CM

Leader of the Opposition in Legislative Assembly Jagadish Shettar on Friday chided the chief minister over government organising ‘Parjanya Homa’ praying for rain.

“The irrigation corporation is spending Rs 20 lakh on the homa. We have no objection if Water Resources Minister M B Patil conducts the ritual at his own expense. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who wants to bring an anti-superstition law, should stop the homa, if he has courage,” Shettar told reporters in Hubballi. He said that the state had been reeling under drought for the past four years. All the tanks in Vijayapura (home district of Patil) have dried up. Instead of addressing water scarcity, it is shameful that the minister is planning to conduct a homa, Shettar added.

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