Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and appealed to release pending funds under NDRF and MGNREGA for drought mitigation and wage component and material component to the state. Out of the total 176 talukas in Karnataka, as many as 100 talukas suffer from severe drought.

Kumaraswamy informed PM Modi that the state faced drought in Karnataka reeled under severe drought both during Kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) seasons of the 2018-19 crop year (July-June). Moreover, he added that the financial assistance sanctioned by the central government was inadequate.

“Consecutive droughts, the flood has brought farmers under distress and it is the time to rush to their aid,” Kumaraswamy told the Prime Minister. The Karnataka CM requested PM Modi to expedite the process to release Rs 2,064.30 crore for drought relief and mitigation, the statement said.

The state government has submitted a memorandum seeking Rs 2,064.30 crore drought relief fund for the ongoing rabi season as crop loss is estimated to be Rs 11,384.7 crore. The state has declared drought in 156 out of 176 talukas.

In the meeting, Kumaraswamy apprised the Prime Minister about the pro-active steps taken to mitigate the drought impact on farmers. The state has released Rs 386 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and given priority to ensure drinking water and fodder, besides creating 1.19 crore man-days jobs under the MGNREGA scheme, he added.

The state government has advanced Rs 1,351 crore towards payment of pending wage and material bills in anticipation of release of central funds, Kumaraswamy said and requested for early release of funds to make further wage payments.

The Centre sanctioned Rs 949.49 crore against the state government’s demand of Rs 2,434 crore as drought relief for the kharif season, which is less than 50 per cent of the input subsidy claim by the state, he noted. The crop loss during the kharif and rabi seasons together is estimated to be Rs 32,335 crore, he added.

(With PTI inputs)