Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who has come under attack from the opposition BJP for failing to address governance issues on various fronts including water shortage and power cuts, held a meeting of top ministers and senior officials to address the drinking water shortage here on Thursday.
Following the meeting, the chief minister hit back at the opposition BJP — who had urged the Governor on Wednesday to wake up the slumbering Congress government — by stating that he needed no lessons on governance from the BJP which did not generate even a single megawatt of power during its five-year term between 2008-13.
Siddaramaiah on Thursday also said the state government would initiate criminal proceedings against sugar factories if they failed to pay the minimum price of Rs 2,500 per ton for sugarcane supplied to the factories by farmers this year.
The Congress chief minister, who has been chided by the BJP and even the state Governor for not effectively handling the growing drought-like situation in the state, meanwhile directed top officials to ensure that relief work in the water-scarce areas of 125 taluks are started on a war footing.
Siddaramaiah said funds to the tune of Rs 516 crore had been released for drought relief work, including provision of drinking water and fodder in recent weeks. He said there were no constraints with respect to funds for drought relief work.
The chief minister said 10,163 villages in 125 taluks were under adverse drought conditions with 1,086 villages affected severely. The badly affected villages are being supplied water through tankers on a daily basis, he said. Banks had been opened in the region to supply fodder for cattle and stocks would last for up to 26 weeks, he said.
The chief minister’s meeting to address the situation also featured senior ministers like Rural and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar, Law and Animal Husbandry Minister T B Jayachandra and Revenue Minister V Srinivasa Prasad.
On Wednesday, the opposition BJP in Karnataka had submitted a memorandum to the Governor accusing the Congress government of going to sleep with respect to governance in the state following the Lok Sabha polls that concluded in the state on April 17. The BJP had urged the Governor to “wake up Siddaramiah and his cabinet colleagues from their deep slumber to focus their attention on combating drought with all seriousness”.