Bengaluru: Leader of the Opposition in the Karnataka Assembly Siddaramaiah on Saturday urged the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government to declare floods in the state as natural calamity. The former Chief Minister also hit out at the Chief Minister of the state B S Yediyurappa’s administration over its handling of the flood situation.
Describing the administration as thick-skinned, the Opposition Leader alleged that the Ministers, instead of visiting the rain-affected regions, were busy with November 3 bypolls to two Assembly constituencies. “The state government is not doing enough for those affected by floods. The Central government is also not coming for help,” he said.
“I urge the Centre to declare the floods as a natural calamity,” he said. Speaking to reporters here, he flayed the state government for not putting pressure on the Centre in this regard.
“The Prime Minister has never visited the state during floods and announced a special package. He goes to other states,” Siddaramaiah said. Despite having 25 MPs, the state BJP leaders lack courage to meet the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek justice for the state with regard to flood relief, GST compensation and 15th Finance Commission allocation, he said.
In the wake of the flood situation emerging for the third time in the state within as many months, Yediyurappa had on Friday said it has released Rs 85.5 crore for immediate relief, and rescue equipment has been supplied to the affected districts. According to a government report, Kalaburagi, Bidar, Yadgir, Ballari, Raichur, Bagalkote, Davangere, Koppal, Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga, Udupi, Vijayapura and Belgaum districts were the worst affected between October 10-15.
Noting that district in-charge ministers should have stayed in the districts and guided the Deputy Commissioners and other officials there regarding relief measures, Siddaramaiah said Revenue Minister R Ashoka has gone to the flooded places for namesake, and the Chief Minister has not. He said the government has still not given compensation for floods that occurred in August, but claim that about Rs 85 crore has been released. The money has not reached the people, he said.
Stating that he has never seen such a thick-skinned government, the Congress Legislature Party leader said it doesn’t respond to letters, or take suggestions. “They (those in government) are into making money.
So, they are neglecting the people. For them, elections (bypolls) are more important…,” he said. Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol, who is the in-charge Minister of two flood-affected districts, was busy with the byelection campaign instead of going to affected areas, Siddaramaiah said.
Meanwhile, Karjol trying to defend his visit to bypoll-bound Sira constituency, said as he and his family had just recovered from COVID-19 and cannot travel 600-700 km, so the Chief Minister had deputed the Revenue Minister to visit Kalaburgi and Yadgir. He said he was in constant touch with officials in the affected districts, and had to travel to Sira on the request of the candidate, as he is bypoll in-charge there.
Reacting to this, state Congress president D K Shivakumar said, “If someone one is not able to perform, he has to resign and go home. People of the state cannot be sacrificed for the sake of one person.”