Karnataka govt may get drought relief of less than Rs 2,000 crore

New Delhi: Karnataka government is unlikely to get the entire drought relief fund of Rs 4,702 crore that it sought from the central government as a sub-panel has recommended only Rs 1,782 crore for the 2016 kharif crop loss.

However, a final call on the quantum of relief amount to be released from the National Disaster Response Fund to the state would be taken during the January 4 meeting of the high-level Committee, headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

According to sources, a sub-committee on drought has reviewed the proposal of the state government vis-a-vis the report of the central team that submitted after visiting drought-hit areas.

“Going by the drought manual, the sub-committee has recommended Rs 1,784.44 crore drought relief to Karnataka. The committee’s recommendation will further be deliberated in the high-level committee (HLC) meeting,” an official source said.

The relief fund recommended by the sub-committee is 38% lower than the amount sought by the state government.

Last week, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaih had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to release the entire relief amount considering farmers’ distress in the wake of the worst drought in the last 40 years.

“The state has already spent Rs 400 crore in drought-hit areas. If the Centre does not give the entire relief amount, it will be a burden on exchequer,” Siddaramaih had told media after meeting the PM.

Karnataka has been facing severe drought for the past six years. The drought in 2016-17 was the worst in 40 years. The state has declared 139 taluks out of 176 drought-hit.

The state had a normal monsoon in June-July this year, but it witnessed a prolonged dry spell in August, September and October affecting agriculture, power generation, ground water recharge, drinking water supply and fodder availability.