We Have Been Asked to Repay Relief Fund, Allege Karnataka Flood Victims
Image Courtesy: Firstpost
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka led by B S Yeddyurappa is under duress for not taking timely steps to handle the destruction caused by the floods in August.
The state is all set to go to bypolls in 15 constituencies on December 5, 2019. The ruling BJP has fielded candidates in all the constituencies and is hoping to win all of them. However, it should be noted that the people in the state are unhappy with the negligence of aid for flood-hit regions. According to a report in a local daily Prajavani, many villages of Janawada in Athani on November 17, 2019, protested and declared that they would not be voting in the bypolls. The villagers claimed that even though they incurred huge losses due to the flooding of the Krishna river, they have not received any relief fund nor has any government official visited them.
The state government is being accused for not being able to demand more allocation for relief from the Centre. Meanwhile, there are reports of various discrepancies in the distribution of even the meagre amount allocated for flood relief so far.
According to a Prajavani report, in Belagavi, farmers who are affected by floods are not getting money. The report said that many farmers have been complaining that the money is being given to them as a loan and not as a relief fund. Farmers in Yadoru of Chikkodi taluk reportedly complained about this to the housing minister V Somanna. They noted that they have been given amounts between Rs 25,000 to Rs 98,000 and some money for those whose animals were killed in the floods. But, they claimed that the banks are allegedly harassing them in the name of repaying the loans.
The minister who was present in Yaduru at the time informed the Zilla Panchayat CEO Dr. K V Rajendra that this practice had to be put to an end, ensuring that the farmers are not harassed by the banks.
The August floods in Karnataka are estimated to have caused losses to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore. About 103 taluks in 22 districts had been badly hit with over crop loss sprawled over 6.9 lakh hectares of land. Around 75,317 houses have been damaged due to the rains. Responding to such a vast scale of a natural disaster, after waiting for two long months, the central government had announced the release of a meagre amount of Rs. 1,200 crore.
As NewsClick had reported earlier, 1,12,483 families have been given Rs 10,000 each, while 3,000 families have not received this meagre amount as well. The crops and agricultural land have been hit badly. Crops grown on 2,21,428 hectares of land are destroyed, but no relief fund for crop loss has been announced so far. Reportedly, six farmers have committed suicide owing to the crop loss and increased pressure to repay loans.
As reported in NewsClick, farmers across the state are protesting this serious negligence of crop loss and damage to the agricultural land, by both the state and central governments. On October 11, 2019, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha had organised a protest in Vidhana Soudha, demanding the government to release relief funds for crop loss. The protesting farmers were stopped by the police and not allowed to reach Vidhana Soudha. Lakshman Sevadi, one of the deputy Chief Ministers met with the protesting farmers. Sevadi promised the farmers to take their demands to the CM and discuss them in the cabinet. Reportedly, the farmers demanded him to decide on the spot. Sevadi, who left the venue, returned to say that no announcement can be made as the Assembly session is on.
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