Bengaluru, Aug 15 (IANS) Terming the heavy monsoon rains and floods in two-thirds of Karnataka the worst in 45 years, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Thursday said he would seek more central funds for speeding up relief works in the affected regions to mitigate the hardship of the people.
“I will seek more central aid for relief works in 22 districts across the state, which were lashed by torrential rains and flooded by rivers in spate and heavy discharge of water from reservoirs in the catchment areas,” said Yediyurappa in his 73rd Independence Day (I-Day) address at the Manekshaw parade ground in the city amid tight security.
The chief minister is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers in New Delhi on Friday for seeking additional funds and other central assistance to restore normalcy in the flood-hit areas at the earliest.
Though Modi sanctioned last week Rs 200 crore from the Prime Minister’s relief fund for rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit state, the amount is not enough to meet the cost of restoring normalcy and rebuilding houses and farmlands, damaged or destroyed by the rain waters and flood fury over the last fortnight.
“Ironically, the country’s second semi-arid state is caught between acute drought and severe flood due to various factors, including climate change and global warming,” lamented the chief minister.
Nearly 22 of the 30 districts across the coastal, central and northwest regions of the state are facing floods, while 5 districts in the southern region are in a drought-like situation due to deficit rainfall.
“The rain-distribution pattern across the state is uneven, resulting in water deficit for cultivation and irrigation of farm lands. Crops in 4.69 lakh hectares of farmland have been lost to heavy floods and huge landslides, causing misery to the small and marginal farmers,” noted Yediyurappa in his 30-minute long speech in Kannada.
Admitting that life has been tough for the poor and slum dwellers in the flood-hit urban areas, the chief minister said houses would be rebuilt and basic amenities like drinking water, toilets, sanitation and connectivity will be provided.
The flood situation aggravated due to excess discharge of rain water in the downstream from neighbouring south-west Maharashtra and heavy rains during the monsoon in the state since August 1.
“The natural disaster has left a trail of death and destruction, destroying properties and assets valued at crores of rupees,” added Yediyurappa.
As a one-man show (cabinet) since he took over as the chief minister for the fourth time on July 26, the 76-year-old Yediyurappa formed teams of lawmakers to expedite relief works after reviewing the situation in their respective assembly or Parliament constituencies.