Krishna Byre Gowda, Srinivas Prasad to tour drought-hit areas

Revenue Minister V. Srinivas Prasad and Minister of State for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda will tour drought-hit areas in the State shortly and hold divisional-level review meetings of the situation in all the divisional headquarters.

Municipal Administration and Minorities Affairs Minister Qamarul Islam told The Hindu here on Sunday that Mr. Prasad and Mr. Byregowda will start the tour from Kalaburagi and the dates of the visit of the Ministerial team have not been finalised.

Describing the drought situation in Kalaburagi as alarming, Mr. Qamarul said that he had toured Afzalpur and Jewargi where the sowing of the Kharif crop this year was less than 10 per cent.

A detailed review of the drought situation, drinking water shortage in the rural and urban areas and the shortage of fodder and drinking water for the cattleheads would be taken up in the monthly KDP review meeting scheduled on August 11.

He said that he was in constant touch with the district administration and the zilla panchayat about the developing situation in the district on a day to day basis.

Instructions have also been issued to the district authorities to take up relief works wherever it was necessary and to transport drinking water in both urban and rural areas where there was severe shortage.

“We will not allow the people to suffer for want of drinking water or employment,” he said.

Mr. Qamarul, who is also the chairman of the Hyderabad Karnataka Region Development Board (HKRDB), said that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would review the functioning of the HKRDB and the physical and financial progress achieved so far along with Planning Minister S.R. Patil, senior officials of Planning, DPAR and Finance Department in Bengaluru after the BBMP elections.

The meeting would also take up the issue of the need to amend the existing rules and regulations to ensure that the unspent amount released to the HKRDB is not lapsed if it is not utilised in the same financial year. (The existing rule states that the funds would not lapse only if the expenditure of the allocated amount exceeds 80 per cent).

He said that the Chief Minister had already clarified on the floor of house that not a single paisa allocated to the HKRDB would lapse. This year the government had released Rs. 250 crore as the first instalment to the HKRDB out of Rs. 1,000 crore earmarked in the budget.