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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Congress petitions EC seeking drought relief from Centre

Pushing ahead with the demand for speedy release of drought relief from the Centre, Deputy Chief Minister and KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar on Wednesday appealed to the Election Commission (EC) to direct the Centre to release ₹4,663 crore from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) and additional support fund of ₹18,171 crore to the State to meet the severe drought situation.

In a letter to EC, he pointed out that 224 out of 236 taluks are reeling under drought. He cited the recent statement of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a press conference in Bengaluru, where she stated the Centre had written to the Election Commission on March 28 seeking permission to hold a meeting of the high-power committee to clear several proposals for disaster relief, including drought relief for Karnataka.

‘Delay conceded’

“In her statement she categorically conceded a delay in releasing drought relief by giving a reason that the EC has not permitted to hold a meeting of the high-power committee. People of Karnataka have been suffering due to lack of adequate relief funds to meet basic requirements like drinking water, fodder, employment, and crop loss etc.,” Mr. Shivakumar said.

As a matter of right, the States are entitled for NDRF and other funds from the Union government whenever disaster occurs in the States concerned, the KPCC chief noted. Even the provisions of law and the model code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections will not come in the way of release of drought relief to the State, he said.

He contended that the Union government has wrongly asserted that EC has to permit a meeting of the high-power committee to clear drought relief funds to Karnataka, which is not required in the eyes of law.

The Karnataka government has approached the Supreme Court seeking drought relief funds for the State.

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