Centre announces Rs 1200 cr for Karnataka flood relief

 A farmer helps his cattle to wade through floodwaters across a road near Jamkhandi Taluk at Belgaum district of Karnataka. (AFP File Photo)

Amid criticism over the delay in releasing central funds for flood relief, the Centre on Friday announced the "advance release" of Rs 1,200 crore from National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to Karnataka after taking into account the "paucity of funds" in its State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF).

Along with Karnataka, Union Home Minister Amit Shah also approved the advance release of Rs 613.75 crore for Bihar, which includes the advance release of second instalment (Rs 213.75 crore) too.

The announcement about the approval of advance release came on a day Karnataka Opposition leaders mounted a fresh attack on the BJP governments at the Centre and the state. Following mismatch in the assessment of inter-ministerial central team and the state government about the loss due to July-August floods, state officials had clarified its figures to MHA on Thursday and are expected to provide another detailed clarification next week.

The BJP also faced criticism from within too over the delay in fund release and its Bijapur MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal was on Friday issued a show cause notice for "insulting and denigrating the herculean efforts" being made by saffron party-led governments in Karnataka and at the Centre.

"The states of Karnataka and Bihar have apprised of paucity of funds in the SDRF account resulting in delay in providing relief assistance to the affected people and requested release of advance additional financial assistance from NDRF," an official statement said.

"Keeping in view the severity of flood situation and the fund positions in the SDRF [State Disaster Response Fund] account of the states of Bihar and Karnataka, the Home Minister has approved release of Rs 400 crore to Bihar and Rs 1,200 crore to Karnataka from NDRF on account basis," it said. Further, Shah also approved advance release of second instalment of centre's share of SDRF amounting to Rs 213.75 crore to Bihar for 2019-20.

Karnataka government had submitted a report to the Centre claiming that the July-August floods caused loss of around Rs 35,160.81 crore. However, the assessment by the inter-ministerial team, which submitted its report, pegged the loss much lower. 

Karnataka government had submitted a report to the Centre claiming that the July-August floods caused loss of around Rs 35,000 crore

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