Reddys to defy CM over flood relief works

Decide to build 20,000 houses on their own; truck toll acts as the trigger

Reddys to defy CM over flood relief works

The ministers decided to  ‘unilaterally’ go ahead and build houses in the flood-ravaged north Karnataka districts.

In the last few days, Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy and Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy had been expressing their displeasure over certain decisions taken by the CM. But on Monday, they not only made efforts to assert themselves, but also roped in six other ministers and some BJP MLAs to show their strength.

It is said that the gulf between the two camps is so wide that the Reddys are busy readying a platform to seek a change in the leadership of the BJP government.
And, they may take up the matter with the high command in the days to come. However, the Reddys are not openly criticising the chief minister.

Karunakara Reddy held a meeting with seven of his ministerial colleagues, including Janardhana Reddy, at his official bungalow in the evening. The other ministers who attended the meeting were B Sreeramulu, Balachandra Jarkiholi, Anand Asnotikar, Shivaraj Tangadagi, Shivanagouda Naik and Gulihatti Shekar.

The latest round of differences between the mining tycoons and the chief miniser cropped up during the state Cabinet meeting  last Thursday.

The Cabinet decision to impose toll on trucks carrying ores did not go down well with the Reddys.

It is said the brothers are arguing that mine owners are ready to contribute funds for constructing 20,000 houses and hence they should not be taxed through the truck toll.

No going back

When Deccan Herald sought his reaction, Yeddyurappa said he had convened a meeting to discuss the developments on Tuesday and later he would react. Asked whether he would relax the toll tax, he said, “how can I?”

The Reddys are also upset with the decision of the chief minister to appoint Rajeev Chandrashekar, MP, to supervise the construction of houses in the flood-hit areas on the grounds that the revenue department was going to do the work.

The Reddys as well as Health Minister B Sreeramulu had expressed their dissatisfaction over the transfer of the Gadag deputy commissioner.

These are being projected as apparent reasons for the rift. But the relations between the Reddys and the chief minister  have been strained for long, though they had patched up for some time.

After the meeting, Karunakara Reddy declared that they will go ahead with the construction of houses in flood-hit areas of Bellary from October 28. They will utilise the funds donated by the mine owners of Bellary for the construction. And, they are not going to invite the chief minister for the programme. Instead, they are inviting Governor H R Bhardwaj to grace the occasion.

“I don’t know about the chief minister’s programme on that day. We have not invited him. If he attends, then we will be happy.” This was Karunakara Reddy’s reply when the media asked if Yeddyurappa was attending the function.

Bellary, according to the revenue minister, requires 10,000 houses. And, another 10,000 houses would be constructed in the neighbouring districts.

While the government intends to spend Rs 1 lakh for constructing a house, the Reddys’ budget is Rs 1.15 lakh for each house.

The chief minister has already made it clear that the government will give land for those who are interested in building houses for the victims.

And the donors go by the government approved housing plans.
Karunakara Reddy said being the revenue minister of the state it was his responsibility to see that the flood-victims get proper shelter.

Many industrialists had come forward to contribute money.
“We will construct houses for flood victims in Bellary, Gadag, Koppal and Raichur districts”, he announced. 

Land for corporates

It is said that when the chief minister is ready to give land for corporate houses to construct houses, why was he not ready to adopt the same policy when it came to Bellary where it’s the mine owners who were contributing funds is the argument put forth by the Reddy brothers.

Karunakara Reddy said that the meeting discussed the recent political developments at length. 

“We will come out with details at the right time. This is not the right occasion,” Karunakara Reddy  said in reply to a query.

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