BJP govt used Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity: Vala

BJP govt used Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity: Vajubhai Vala

Immediately after Vala began his speech, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress members rose with placards for a symbolic protest

Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala along with Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri and Council Chairman Pratap Chandra Shetty, attend the joint session, in Bengaluru. Credit: DH Photo

The Congress showed anti-government placards and shouted slogans even as Governor Vajubhai R Vala began addressing the joint session of the legislature on Thursday, showering praises on the BS Yediyurappa administration for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and flood situation.

Immediately after Vala began his speech, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress members rose with placards for a symbolic protest accusing the government of neglecting north Karnataka, especially the fact that the legislature session has not been conducted in Belagavi for over a year now.

An unperturbed Vala continued, reading out achievements of his government in a pandemic-hit year. “My government has tried its best to mitigate the adverse impact of Covid-19 and we have used this crisis as an opportunity to build on our strengths to create additional health infrastructure and enhance production capacity for PPE kits and ventilators,” Vala said.

“Despite the challenges and hardships imposed by the pandemic, the achievements of my government are noteworthy,” he said, adding that Karnataka was ranked first in the India Innovation Index, 2nd in milk production, 4th in the Public Affairs Index and 6th in the SDG India Index.

He also said that Karnataka contributed 8% to India’s GDP and 40% of IT exports.

“My government has released Rs 526 crore from SDRF, PM CARES and CSR fund to mitigate the impact of Covid-19,” Vala said, also pointing out that Karnataka conducted over 80 lakh RT-PCR tests, which he said was the highest in India.

The government, he said, had approved free treatment for 1.36 lakh Covid patients at a cost of Rs 248 crore. During the lockdown, Vala said the government provided 90 lakh packed nutrition food for migrant workers. “Financial assistance worth Rs 5,372 crore to 63 lakh beneficiaries,” he said.

According to Vala, his government’s handling of three flood events between August and October 2020 was “swift and well-rounded”.

“Despite the current challenges, my government has collected Rs 30,467 crore through commercial taxes and Rs 16,788 crore through the excise department to ensure smooth funding of development programmes of the state,” he said, seeking cooperation to make Karnataka the number one state in India.

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah called Vala’s speech "a garland of lies".

“The BJP government’s achievement is zero,” he said. “Whatever achievements that were mentioned were those that happened when we were in power,” he said, adding that the Governor should have laid out a vision for the future. “The state has rewinded ten years in terms of development, for which the government blames Covid.”

Tallest fire-fighting ladder

Govenor Vajubhai R Vala said the state government had approved the purchase of a 90-m Aerial Ladder Platform costing Rs 25 crore. "This will be the tallest ladder in the country for fire fighting and rescue operations," he said, adding that the fire force had saved 2,051 lives and Rs 482 crore worth public and private properties.