Drought: State seeks Rs 11,500 crore

The state government has sent two memoranda to the Union government, seeking a total aid of Rs 11,489 crore for implementation of drought relief schemes, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar announced on Saturday. Speaking to the media at Jindal airport at Toranagallu, near here, he said the government sought Rs 7, 672 crore for short-term measures and Rs 3,817 crore as long-term aid, as suggested by Union ministers, Sharad Pawar and Jairam Ramesh, during their recent visit to Bengaluru.

The state had already spent Rs 2,200 crore to provide succor to people in drought-hit areas with instructions to deputy commissioners of these districts to implement relief measures on a war footing, he added. The chief minister said he would also request the Union government to write off funds borrowed by farmers from public sector banks. In fact, 1.8 million farmers had borrowed Rs 19,000 crores from these banks. “Our request is for waiver to the extent possible by these banks. We will also request the Union government to reimburse 75 per cent of Rs 3, 500 crore of farm loans which will be waived to help farmers who have borrowed up to to Rs 25,000,” he added.

Meanwhile, deputy chief minister K.S. Eshwarappa said in Shimoga that if the situation demands, the state government would lead another delegation to New Delhi to seek Central aid to tackle drought. He told the media that Mr Sharad Pawar and Mr Jairam Ramesh were not happy with the state government on implementation of relief programmes. Therefore, the state government was contemplating another delegation to Delhi for discussions with the drought monitoring team.

Mr Eshwarappa said all district in-charge ministers were told to assess the situation in their respective districts. The government has already declared 149 taluks including Shimoga as drought-hit, and launched relief measures in all of them, he added.

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