Deve Gowda writes to PM Modi, asks for immediate release of relief funds
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda on Monday joined the Congress in asking the Union government to immediately release ₹5,000 crore to the flood-hit state in lieu of the damages suffered over the past 12 days as a result of the heavy rains.
Since August 1, 42 people have lost their lives across the state, 12 people are missing and around 5.81 lakh people have been displaced after heavy rains and high inflow of water from neighbouring Maharashtra inundated large parts of the northern districts of the state.
According to current state government estimates, 80 of the state’s 176 taluks spread across 17 districts were affected by the rains and the resulting floods, which had even spread across the southern districts into the Cauvery belt by Monday.
In the light of this, Deve Gowda wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day after Union Home Minister Amit Shah conducted an aerial survey of the northern regions here, calling on him to declare this a national calamity. “I appeal to the Prime Minister to release a special package for the state,” he said.
“The discharge of water from major dams varies from 1 lakh to 6 lakh (cusecs) which is unprecedented and which the lower bank is unable to sustain resulting in inundation and marooning of villages,” Deve Gowda said in his letter. “For the present, the total damage to both public and private property including damage to infrastructure approximately could be assessed at ₹10,000 crore... I have not seen such unprecedented destruction to human lives and property in my six decades of political career,” he said.
“I request you to release ₹5,000 crore as interim relief pending submission of a final memorandum by the state government. I hope that the government will extend its helping hand in this hour of need to wipe the tears of the vast population,” he said.
The letter comes a day after chief minister BS Yediyurappa said he had asked the central government for interim relief of ₹3,000 crore in view of the damage, which he estimated might be around ₹30,000-40,000 crore.
Deve Gowda’s demand for a higher quantum of interim relief echoed the thoughts of his protégé-turned-foe, former chief minister Siddaramaiah. Speaking to the media on Sunday, the Congress Legislature Party chief had said that the damage to the state might exceed ₹1 lakh crore, considering the fact that around 60% of the state was affected.
“I demand that the Prime Minister personally visit the state to survey the destruction and release ₹5,000 crore as interim relief,” Siddaramaiah had said.