ANI Photo | Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah requests Home Minister Amit Shah for early release of NDRF funds

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday wrote a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah requesting an early release of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) funds to tackle the drought situation in the state.
Stating that Karnataka has received 73 per cent deficit rainfall, which is the lowest in the last 122 years, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said,” The State has witnessed above normal temperatures associated with large deficit rainfall during August and this has severely affected the standing crops in large parts of rain-fed areas.”
“During September, interior parts of the state comprising of major Kharif area witnessed deficit rainfall which resulted in soil moisture stress during the maturity stage of the crops. Moreover, the drought conditions have further deteriorated during October,” he added.
CM Siddaramaiah further mentioned that the State government on September 22 had submitted the Kharif Drought Memorandum seeking funds from NDRF for undertaking drought relief and mitigation measures in the 195 drought-affected taluks.
“Consequently, a 10-member Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) visited some of the drought-affected areas of Karnataka from 5th October to 9th October to assess the gravity of the drought situation in the State. Given the deteriorating drought conditions, a re-evaluation of seasonal conditions was conducted for the entire South West Monsoon 2023 and an additional 21 taluks were declared as drought affected,” the letter read.
He also mentioned that a total of the agriculture and horticulture crop loss has been reported in more than 48 lakh hectares with the estimated loss (cost of cultivation) of Rs 35162.05 crore.
“The State Government has sought Rs 18171.44 crore from NDRF for undertaking drought relief measures in the State,” the letter read.
The Cabinet Sub Committee on Natural Disaster Management, under the Chairpersonship of the Hon’ble Revenue Minister, Government of Karnataka, has actively sought appointments with your office on multiple occasions to apprise the prevailing drought situation in the State, which unfortunately has not materialized.
He further stated that it is anticipated that the drinking water situation is likely to deteriorate in the coming months, primarily due to the fact that major reservoirs in the States are currently at only 53 per cent of their total capacity following the primary rainfall season.
“This decline in storage levels in our hydel reservoirs has adversely impacted our hydel power generation, which accounts for 20 per cent of the state’s energy requirement. The State Government has taken proactive and collaborative measures to mitigate the drought’s impact. In October, Rs 324 crore from SDRF was released to 31 districts to take up immediate drought relief measures,” the letter read.
“I request you to issue appropriate instructions Sub-Committee of the National Executive Committee to submit its recommendations at the earliest. I shall be grateful if you could expedite the process and enable which would then facilitate the timely disbursement of input subsidy and gratuitous relief to the distressed farmers,” it added.
Earlier reacting to the drought study tour of Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (Secular) leaders, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said that the government has already conducted the survey and sent the report to the Centre.
“BJP and JDS want to conduct a tour to understand the drought, but the government has already done the survey and sent it to central officials who also came and inspected it in the state. With 26 MPs and JDS MLAs, they must first go to Delhi meet the minister concerned and ask the PM to release funds,” he said.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah also launched an attack on Bharatiya Janata Party MPs saying that if the BJP is concerned about farmers, BJP MPs should work and seek relief released from the Centre to the state instead of criticising the state government.
He questioned the centre for the delay in the release of drought relief and said that the government has submitted a request for drought relief of Rs 17,900 crore but the central government is showing a step-motherly attitude towards Karnataka by not giving time to meet the state ministers and not releasing wages of about Rs 600 crore under NREGA scheme.
Meanwhile, BJP is undertaking a drought study in the state and has formed teams in this regard while JDS has decided to study drought situation in December

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