Yeddy Lambasts BJP Govt's Laxity Over Drought, Demands Farm Loan Waiver
From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Bangalore
Bangalore, Jul 23: Trying to win over the support of farmers in the drought affected districts and emerge as their champion, the former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Monday lambasted his own party’s State Government for its laxity in tackling the drought situation and demanded that the Jagadish Shettar should immediately announce waiver of the crop loans of farmers.
Participating in the debate on the drought situation in the State Assembly, Yeddyurappa also sought to outsmart the former JD(S) chief minister and his political foe H D Kumaraswamy, who had declared that his party would waive crop loans of farmers if voted to power in the coming assembly polls and asked the Shettar Government to waive the crop loans immediately.
Yeddyurappa apparently wanted to show that he still calls the shots in the ruling party and convey that he had no reservations in criticizing the State Government led by his own nominee Jagadish Shettar on the floor of the assembly. With almost the entire north Karnataka region, where the politically powerful Lingayat community to which he belongs is predominant, Yeddyurappa evidently wanted to demonstrate that he is second to none in espousing the cause of farmers.
The former chief minister attacked the Government for its failure in handling drought across the State, which obviously is an indictment against the D V Sadananda Gowda regime as it was ruling the State during the last 11 months when the drought situation worsened as Jagadish Shettar had assumed power just recently.
''The Government had made no plans to mitigate drinking water crisis in the affected villages, provide jobs under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and hold sufficient stock of fodder,” he said pointing out that nearly 156 out of the 176 taluks were reeling under scarcity conditions due to the failure of monsoon.
“Neither agricultural universities nor the agriculture department have prepared action plans to tackle drought,” he said declaring that he would undertake state-wide tour from August first week and monitor relief works staying in villages.
Set Aside Rs 10,000 Cr For Drought Relief
Anticipating early elections to the Assembly, he urged Shettar to set aside Rs 10,000 crore to mitigate drought on a war footing. ''Don’t wait for the Centre to release funds for drought relief works,” he said.
Yeddyurappa said he would submit his report to the Chief Minister after his state-wide tour and demand that programmes must be implemented to tackle drought in the next three-four months.
He demanded waiver of crop loans to the tune of Rs 2300 crore borrowed by farmers last year from cooperative banks as an one-time measure. On account of the drought conditions during last year, the farmers could not harvest yields. This year’s drought has seriously aggravated the plight of farmers, he said.
The farmers had repaid cooperative loans when they harvested bumper crops. Cooperatives disbursed Rs. 5852 crore in 2009-10 and recovered 94 per cent of loans, he said.
Out of the Rs. 10,000 crore funds for drought relief works, he demanded allocation of Rs. 1500 crore for granting Rs 5,000 to each of the 30 lakh small and marginal farmers under Suvarna Bhoomi scheme for purchase of seeds and other expenditure of farmers.
Yeddyurappa demanded setting aside Rs 2000 crore for removal of silt from tanks, Rs 1000 crore for issuing Bhagyalakshmi insurance bonds to girl child, Rs 1000 crore for implementing various drinking water schemes, Rs 1000 crore for purchase of electricity, and Rs 400 crore for release of money to eligible beneficiaries under various pensions schemes.
Blaming the Government for poor implementation of the scheme, the former Chief Minister said only first installment of Rs 5000 was transferred to farmers’ accounts in 2011.
The first installment amount was denied to three lakh farmers out of identified 10 lakh beneficiaries. No attempt was made to give second installment under the scheme.
The former Chief Minister strongly opposed the proposed foreign trips by legislators when the entire State was facing drought. ''The foreign tour by legislators when three-fourths of the State was suffering from drought conditions, is totally unacceptable,” he said.
He appealed to government employees to donate a week’s salary towards taking up drought relief works. The public undertakings can also pitch in and extend their support, he said.
Congress MLA irked by party MLA’s Fast
Congress member A S Patil’s hunger strike at Muddebihal in Bijapur district over tackling drought by the State Government irked another Congress member in the Legislative Assembly on Monday.
Appaji Nadagouda of the Congress alleged that political conspiracy was behind the hunger strike launched by Patil.
Sharana Prakash Patil of the Congress, who demanded the Government to appeal Patil to end his strike during the zero hour, irked Nadagouda to make the statement.
Nadagouda said A S Patil, who is representing the Devar Hipparagi constituency in the district, has launched the strike in his Muddebihal constituency.
“Why A S Patil launched the strike in my constituency?” Nadagouda asked.
Nadagouda said he disagreed with Sharana Prakash Patil and said there was no genuine reason for A S Patil to stage the agitation in Muddebihal. ''It is politically motivated,” Nadagouda alleged.
“The House is discussing the drought related issued since last week. What is the necessity for A S Patil to launch stir there (Muddebihal) now? Let him come to the House and raise his demand the House,” Nadagouda said.
Replying to Sharana Patil’s demand, Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa said he would ask officials to meet A S Patil and appealed to him to withdraw strike.