Declare Chikkamagaluru as drought-hit: MLA Jeevaraj

MLA D N Jeevaraj on Wednesday urged the state government to declare the district as drought-hit as the district has been witnessing worst ever drought situation.

Addressing reporters here, the MLA, who is also the president of BJP district unit, took exception for including only Moodigere and NR Pura taluks as drought-affected, exempting Sringeri, Koppa and Tarikere. Had a study been conducted to assess average rainfall received in the three taluks, the government would have been forced to include them in the list, he felt.

Jeevaraj said that though the government has released a list of drought-hit taluks, adequate relief amount eludes works in toto. Though the government has fixed Rs 60 lakh for each such taluks, it still proves meagre in Chikkamagaluru taluk alone where 49 gram panchayats and three town panchayats have to share the amount, that can be calculated at less than Rs one lakh for each of the local bodies.

Such will be the hurdle that it would become difficult even to sink borewells utilising existing amount to address scarcity of drinking water under the same head.

He also expressed displeasure over the district administration not heeding his advise of buying feed from farmers who own irrigation pumpsets, after distributing seeds to them. This would have helped in addressing scarcity of  fodder, with the livestock already in pathetic state.
He demanded for revoking decision on prohibiting new borewells, which might otherwise prompt farmers to take extreme step like committing suicide.

At the same time, Jeevaraj said that former deputy chief minister R Ashok Kumar-led team of BJP leaders who are part of the drought study team will visit the district on January 17. The team is expected to visit Moodigere, Kadur and Tarikere taluks.

Jeevaraj criticised Congress-led state government for blaming the Centre, undermining the issues back home. The state did not release even a single pie under appendix-C of Public Works Department (PWD) during the previous year. Following this, no works could be taken up and also, this is a first such negligence in the history of the state. If gone by prevailing situation, the lackadaisical attitude of the government may continue this year too, he added.

Forest dept says no to road works
MLA D N Jeevaraj on Wednesday said that Forest department has come in the way of S K Border-Sringeri road works planned at a cost of Rs 28 crore, citing threat to wildlife. Jeevaraj said that Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has already released Rs 28 crore towards the work. Following this, as is the criterion, two acres of revenue land was handed over to Forest department in exchange, besides remitting relief amount to the government. However, in a recent meeting of high-level officials held at the chief minister’s home office Krishna in Bengaluru, the officials have refused permission, citing threat to free movement of wild animals at the site in question.

Jeevaraj, who blamed the state for not releasing grants for the works, accused them of coming in way of taking up works under Central grants too. Most of the vacancies in Sringeri taluk remains to be filled, he added.

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