'Govt should be given time to address flood situation'

Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.

Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy said the contradictory statements issued by state cabinet, including chief minister, over the financial condition of the State is resulting fear among the flood victims over their rehabilitation.

Speaking to media persons here on Monday, he said the state government doesn’t lack funds, its the ministers who lack vision on how to mitigate floods and better the lives of people. He said constructing house at Rs 5 lakh in the affected areas of Krishna basin is no solution for the perennial issue, the government should concentrate on finding a permanent solution by rehabilitating the affected families to safer locations. 

He claimed that majority of the affected people in North Karnataka have not received the first instalment of compensation to rebild their houses. 

Calling the August and October floods in North Karnataka unprecedented, Kumaraswamy said, “We need to give time to state government to address the flood situation. Disaster of this magnitude can not be addressed overnight,” he said. 

“Neither do I have a soft corner for the BJP nor am I afraid of the Central agencies investigations into IMA scam or phone tapping issue. Flood relief work is a tedious job, and as a former chief minister, I can understand the practical problems of addressing this natural calamity,” he said. He added that touring the affected areas he has noted certain points that can help the government channelise its efforts towards better management of situation. He said, he would soon seek time with chief minister, to discuss these issues with chief secretary and disaster management officials. 

Over the release of funds for floods mitigation by the Union government, he said, as per the federal structure, each state is allotted certain amount for five years to manage natural disaster. “The Union government has been allotting proportional funds (Rs 1,200 crore) to the state government. However, it is the state government, which is not utilising its resources properly. When I can beef up Rs 29,000 crore for loan waiver in 14 months, why can’t the present government collect the required funds,” he said, adding that Karnataka immediately needs Rs 5,000 crore for flood relief, which the state government can generate on its own. 

‘Not in favour of elections’

Clarifying that his party would vigorously contest in all the 15 seats during the ensuring bypolls, which was necessitated after coalition MLAs resigned from their posts, Kumaraswamy said this is not the time for bringing down a government and seeking fresh mandate.

“Few ‘power hungry leaders’ may be under the impression that by pulling down Yediyurappa’s government they can come back to power. But what is the guaranty of that? What if the state throws hung assembly again? And more over if the elections are announced then the entire concentration of the politicians will divert towards polls and not flood victims,” he said. Under the Governor’s rule, farmers and flood victims will be biggest losers, he added.

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