As Karnataka reels from acute drought, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi why he did not show any concern for the state's farmers in the same manner that he rushes to the aid of the international community in their difficult time.
Quoting media reports that India announced USD 1 million aid to Papua New Guinea after a volcanic eruption and USD 250 million Line of Credit for Kenya to upgrade its agriculture, Siddaramaiah said the Prime Minister’s silence on the drought situation in Karnataka raises concern that not all states and their citizens are treated equally in the face of adversity.
"We don't have any opposition to @narendramodi extending help to other countries; he is merely upholding a legacy of India's aid diplomacy & soft power diplomacy, a practice that dates back to the pre-independence era and has continued ever since,” the Chief Minister said in a post on social media site X.
“Our question, however, is this: Why does Modi not exhibit the same level of concern for our farmers who have suffered crop losses due to drought? Why do the Kannadigas not deserve a response from the Union BJP government to their letter seeking compensation?” he asked.
Siddaramaiah said the central government has not yet convened a preliminary meeting to provide relief to farmers of the state. As a result, emergency measures have been taken by the state, releasing crop relief funds of up to Rs 2,000 each to eligible farmers in the first phase.
Even though three ministers from the state went to Delhi, there was no positive response, Siddaramaiah charged. He added that a letter was written to the Centre requesting financial assistance of Rs 18,171 crore for relief.
The chief minister added that if the Centre just releases Karnataka’s share of tax money, it would help alleviate the suffering of the state's farmers.
According to him, there has been damage to fields in an area of 48.19 lakh hectares and the state had asked the Centre for a crop loss compensation of Rs. 4,663 crore.
“I had written a letter requesting a direct meeting with the union ministers of Agriculture and Housing, but they have not given us time yet,” he said.
Due to inadequate rains this year, large parts of Karnataka are reeling under drought. The state government has declared 123 out of 136 taluks in the state drought hit.
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