Karnataka cuts flood damage estimate as Centre objects

Karnataka cuts flood damage estimate as Centre objects

Bengaluru: Karnataka has reduced its flood damage estimate after the Centre raised objections for including private buildings that were affected in the torrents that smashed several parts of the state last month.

‘We have revised our flood damage estimate from the earlier Rs 38,451.11 crore to Rs 35.160.81 crore. The Centre objected to our inclusion of private buildings – hospitals, schools and so on – which we have now removed,’ Revenue Minister R Ashoka said Tuesday.

The revised estimate has been sent to the Centre and the state is expecting the release of funds soon, Ashoka said.

In August 2019, Karnataka witnessed one of its worst natural calamities when heavy floods affected 103 taluks across 22 districts, killing more than 80 people and displacing nearly 7 lakh persons. The floods destroyed 2.47 lakh homes, 6,664 schools, 3,422 Anganwadis and over 300 primary health centres.

The Opposition Congress and the JD(S) have been mounting pressure on the Modi administration to release funds to help rebuild the flood-hit areas of the state, what with the state and the centre now ruled by the BJP. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has been facing flak for the government’s ‘ineffective’ handling of the flood situation.

‘You don’t need a lot of money to carry out immediate relief works. We will need the Central funds only for building new homes for those displaced. For immediate relief works, the government has already released whatever is needed,’ Ashoka maintained. ‘But in order to follow up with the Centre, a delegation of Revenue department officials will head to New Delhi,’ he added.

To provide immediate aid to those affected by the floods, the State government hiked the ex-gratia from Rs 3,800 to Rs 10,000 per household, with the government pitching in Rs 6,200 from its coffers.

When asked if this aid had reached people, Ashoka said, ‘It has reached everyone except for 1,300 cases in Belagavi where we have received complaints that bogus beneficiaries are claiming the aid. For example, some have complained that those whose houses are intact are claiming the ex-gratia.’