New Delhi, May 7, 2016, (PTI) Facing worst drought in last four decades, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Saturday sought additional Rs 12,272 crore funds for improving supply of drinking water and fodder as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in the state with him here.
He also wanted the Centre to release early the relief fund to the tune of Rs 723 crore approved earlier to tide over losses incurred in the rabi season of 2015-16 crop year.
“The PM gave patient hearing to the problems being faced by the state. I have updated him the drought situation in detail and sought additional funds of Rs 12,272 crore,” Siddaramaiah said reporters after the meeting.
The Prime Minister has assured that he will “try to help as much as possible” after he meets chief ministers of all the 11 drought-hit states, he said.
Siddaramaiah informed Modi that the drought is severe this year as the crops worth Rs 15,635 crore have got damaged in 27 districts out of 30 during the the kharif season of 2015-16 crop year, while crop worth Rs 7,000 crore is estimated to have been affected during the rabi season because of drought in 12 districts.
He also informed that drinking water problem has aggravated due to drought and major rivers and reservoirs are facing acute water shortage.
A statement issued by the PMO said, the Prime Minister urged the state government to give maximum attention to desilting and creating farm tanks and check dams over the next 30 to 40 days, before the onset of the monsoon.
Modi said the Centre and the state should work together to tackle the problem of drought, it said.
He said “the time has come when there should be healthy competition among states to speak of efforts in water conservation and management, the way efforts to increase Gross State Domestic Produce (GSDP) and investment are spoken about,” the statement said.
The Prime Minister also asked NITI Aayog to develop an index to measure water conservation and management, it added.
Demanding fair treatment in release of central relief to states, Siddaramaiah said, “Other states are given higher compensation. I have requested Modi to treat us equally as Karnataka’s situation is bad next to Rajasthan….I have asked PM to be liberal in giving funds to the state.”
Asked if the Prime Minister had been late in calling the meeting with drought-hit Chief Ministers, Siddaramaiah said, “I don’t see any politics in this. This is a good development.”
The Centre has sanctioned drought-relief fund of Rs 1540 crore against the demand of Rs 3,830 crore for the kharif season, while Rs 723 crore has been approved against the demand of Rs 1,417 crore for the rabi season of this year.
“I have informed the drinking water crisis is getting worse as the water level in reserviors has gone down to 13 per cent. Some rivers like Krishna have dried up,” he said.
Highlighting both short and long term steps taken to address drinking water crisis to the PM, the Karnataka Chief Minister said, “Farmers have not taken second crop this year because of drought. We are preserving water for drinking water purpose.”
He informed that drinking water is being supplied through 1,598 tankers to over 1,100 villages since January 2016. The state has identified additional 2,071 villages that may require drinking water through tankers.
In urban areas, drinking water is being supplied through tankers to about 500 wards. Private bore wells are being hired to augment supply of drinking water. Even block level control rooms have been set up to lodge complaints on water supply.