Ready for any situation, says BSY on I-Day amid floods

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa

Floods and rains affecting normal life in most parts of the state, cast its shadow on Independence Day celebrations in Karnataka on Thursday, with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa asserting his government was ready to face the situation.

Delivering his first Independence Day speech after assuming office, the Chief Minister said his government believed that development is the "mantra" of administration.

The state government had decided to celebrate independence day in a "simple" way as most parts of the state had been affected by floods and incessant rains.

While, the Chief Minister hoisted the national flag and received a guard of honour at the main event in Bengaluru, followed by a couple of cultural events by school children, there were reports of Independence Day being celebrated in a simple way in several flood-affected regions, especially amidst rain in coastal districts like Udupi.

Dedicating the initial part of his speech to the flood situation and relief and rehabilitation work undertaken by the government, Yediyurappa said Karnataka is caught between two extremes of drought and floods.

"My government is ready to face situation arising out of both extremes," he said.

Stating that Karnataka is witnessing nature's fury that was not seen in the past 45 years, the chief minister said, "more than half of the state is flooded. As many as 103 taluks in 22 districts of Karnataka are submerged. Amid this, at least 5 districts haven't received enough rains, creating a drought-like situation."

Yediyurappa said the flood situation that has beset Karnataka is because of discharge of water from reservoirs in neighbouring states along with sudden spell of monsoon rain in the state.

"It's a matter of abundant signs that the rain distribution pattern is uneven and some areas are reeling under rain deficiency," he pointed out.

So far, 61 people have lost their lives in floods, while 15 persons are still classified as missing.

Almost 6.97 lakh people have been evacuated to safer places.

A total of 1,224 relief centres have been opened where food, clothing, medicines and other essential materials are being provided to 3,96,617 people taking shelter.

Compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the dead is being distributed within 48 hours, Yediyurappa said, adding "the challenges brought forth by sudden and convulsing floodwaters are many. The worst affected are members of the farming community."

About 4.69 lakh hectares of land have been lost to floods or landslide incidents, and more than 58,620 houses are damaged.

Highlighting steps taken by the government in providing relief to affected and his visit to affected areas, the chief minister complimented government officers and employees, legislators, MPs, NGOs and also opposition leaders for their cooperation.

"I have announced immediate relief of Rs 10,000 to those who have lost their homes, Rs 5 lakh as compensation and Rs 1 lakh to repair and rebuild damaged houses," he said.

Acknowledging that the Central government sent in National Disaster Response Force personnel, besides deploying army, helicopters and rescue boats in efforts to shift affected people to safety, also visit by union ministers including Home Minister Amit Shah and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Yediyurappa said, "We are sill assessing the extent of damage."

"Once we get the final estimate of the losses suffered in the floods and rains, we will seek more assistance from the Centre... I can declare with clear conscience that my government has left no stone unturned in rushing to the rescue of the people affected by floods," he added.

This is the first Independence Day for Yediyurappa as the Chief Minister since taking over on July 26.

With Yediyurappa heading a "one-man" Cabinet with no Ministers, other than Bengaluru City in all other districts, sub-divisions and taluks, respective Deputy Commissioners, Assistant Commissioners and Tahsildars hoisted the national flag.

In the normal course, Ministers do the honours at district headquarters.

Yediyurappa has indicated that a final decision on cabinet expansion is likely after his Delhi visit on August 16 and 17, during which he will hold discussion with the party leadership in this regard.

Stating that his government is for the people and their welfare, Yediyurappa said keeping this in mind it had been working towards all-round development of Karnataka.

"I have got another opportunity to serve you. As a social reformer, Basavanna said, 'Kayakave Kailasa' (work is worship), I would like to fully use this opportunity to build a progressive and affluent Karnataka," he said. 

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