Bengaluru, Nov 10 (PTI) Dubbing BJP and JD(S)' drought study tour as "publicity," Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Friday asked their parliamentarians and legislators to instead meet the Prime Minister and central Ministers concerned and ensure that the state gets the relief.
Shivakumar, also the state Congress chief, accused the Centre of "discrimination" in providing drought relief to the state.
While the BJP is undertaking a drought study tour across the state in teams, JD(S) state president H D Kumaraswamy had recently said that his party would undertake the 'Raita Santwana Yatre', probably in December.
"BJP and JD(S) leaders are going on a drought study tour out of compassion," he said, mocking the two parties.
"Already, the Karnataka government has conducted a survey and has submitted a memorandum to the central government which has even sent a team of officials to assess the situation," Shivakumar said.
Speaking to reporters here, he said, 26 MPs of the BJP and JD(S), along with 66 and 19 MLAs respectively from both parties should go to Delhi, meet the Prime Minister Narendra and central Ministers and get relief funds to the state.
"Instead of going (on a tour) for the sake of publicity and inspecting two (agricultural) plants (saplings) and coming back is not right, we have already seen plants, if you want -- go and take publicity -- but also ensure that the state benefits from you, that's important. We are not begging in front of your central government, we are asking the centre to release relief funds as per rules, it's our right," he added.
Karnataka has declared 216 out of the total 236 taluks in the state as drought-hit. The government has estimated losses in excess of Rs 33,770 crore, and has sought a Central drought relief of Rs 17,900 crore as per norms.
Noting that Rs 800 crore is available with deputy commissioners to handle the drought situation, the Deputy Chief Minister said, instructions have been given to use the funds for drinking water, fodder and other needs.
With more than 200 taluks reeling under drought, the state had decided to increase Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) man-days of work from 100 days to 150 days, and has written to centre in this regard, he said, adding, it has been about two months, but there is no response in this regard from the Centre.
"I urge all our MPs, 66 BJP MLAs and 19 JD(S) MLAs, who H D Kumaraswamy claims are in alliance with the BJP and are part of NDA -- let them do politics, we don't have objection -- but, if they have concern for the state, let them ensure that the state gets funds from the centre, and also see to it that man-days under MNREGA is increased to 150," he said, adding that if they don't give, the state government has decided to do it by itself and bear the cost.
Responding to a question on alleged controversy about the Congress deputing Karnataka Ministers for Telangana poll campaign and other election responsibilities, despite drought in many parts of the state, Shivakumar, ahead of leaving for Telangana for campaigning today said: "Not too many, we have only deputed five to six Ministers, even during the BJP government they had deputed." Also, about 40 Congress legislators have been deputed, they too will be going to Telangana, he said, but, Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, who was also deputed, has been asked not to go, as he will be required in the state amid the drought situation. PTI KSU RS KSU SS