Good news in the offing on central grants for flood relief: Karna CM

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‘Amit Shah and Sitharaman had toured flood affected regions, Centre well aware of damage’

BENGALURU, Sept 7 (PTI):Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Saturday said some good news was in the offing from the Centre amid an outcry for central aid for effective relief work in the flood-hit areas of the state.

The demand for central grants grew louder as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the city to witness the planned soft landing of Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface from the ISRO centre.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Yediyurappa said, “More than us, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aware of the flood situation. We are expecting good news from the Centre.”

He was responding to a query about any assurance from Modi on central grants for flood relief.      The Chief Minister was in Mysuru to make offerings to the Kapila river at Kabini Reservoir, which is brimming. The offering was a mark of gratitude for bringing fortune to the people living on its banks, especially the farming community.

Yediyurappa further said he spoke to Modi in Bengaluru too, though he had apprised him of the prevailing flood situation in the state. Noting that Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had toured the flood affected regions, he emphasised that the Centre was well aware of the damage caused by floods.

As the floods have caused immense damage, the government was focusing on flood relief for keeping aside other development works, he added.

“The flood has caused an immense damage to the state. There is a need to build 1.25 lakh houses in the state. The state government is ready to release grants for the purpose,” Yediyurappa said.      Approximately 7.5 lakh hectares of land was submerged in water and 82 people lost their lives in the floods last month. The floods compelled the government to open 493 relief camps where about 2.10 lakh people were accommodated till the water receded.

Just when the government was planning to intensify its flood relief operations, another wave of a possible spate in North Karnataka, parts of coastal Karnataka and Kodagu is set to pose a challenge before the state government.

Meanwhile, the Congress accused the Centre of showing “complete apathy” towards providing relief to Karnataka. Hitting out at the state government, Karnataka Congress Chief Dinesh Gundu Rao questioned the helplessness of state BJP leaders, including Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, in getting Central aid. Rao demanded that the state government call an all party meeting soon to discuss flood relief and take a delegation to central government in this regard.

“PM today has given speech for half-an-hour at ISRO. It is good he makes speeches, but could not spend time with Chief Minister, Ministers and officials here and assess the situation..his own party is in government here..why he is not assessing the situation by visiting affected areas,” he said.      Claiming that a flood like situation still existed even today in several parts of the state, he said, “we had expected that the Prime Minister along with viewing Chandrayaan (landing), will give good news to lakhs of people of the state.”

They had wanted to submit a memorandum to the prime minister and sought time from his office, but did not get any response, Rao claimed adding that Modi did not make any mention about flood relief during his visit. Targetting the Prime Minister for finding time to travel to Russia and announce a line of credit of USD one billion for development of that country’s far east, he said, Modi can’t come and announce relief in a state in his own country.

Accusing state BJP leaders of spreading lies about getting relief during the Prime Minister’s visit, the Congress leader asked if the chief minister did not have the strength to put pressure on the Centre.      “Is he so helpless? Are you (CM) so weak and afraid that you don’t have the voice to question Modi?” the congress leader questioned. A total of 103 taluks of 22 districts were affected by recent floods in several parts and the state government has sought a relief of Rs 38,000 crore from the centre.

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