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Judiciary

Amount released for drought relief not sufficient, Karnataka tells Supreme Court

By Jhanak Singh      29 April, 2024 03:16 PM      0 Comments
Amount released for drought relief not sufficient Karnataka tells Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Congress government in Karnataka on Monday claimed before the Supreme Court that the Centre's order to release just Rs 3,454 crore to it for drought relief was not adequate and was far less than what was asked for. 

On behalf of the state government, senior advocate Kapil Sibal submitted before a bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta that court should order for placing on record the Inter Ministerial Committee Report.

Agreeing to his plea, the court directed the Union government to put into record the report as well as the note.

Attorney General R Venkatramani, appearing for the Union government submitted that the recommendation has been made for release of the funds.

He, however, sought time for placing on record the report and note.

The court fixed the matter for consideration on next Monday.

The Centre on April 26, 2024 released Rs 3,454 crore to Karnataka under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for drought relief.

The issue has been raked by the Karnataka government at a time when general elections are on.

The voting in Karnataka's half of the Lok Sabha seats has already been over.

In an order, the Ministry of Finance stated, a high powered committee approved the release of Rs 3,498.82 crore as drought relief for the state.

It, however, released Rs 3,454.22 crore as Rs 40.60 crore was already with the state under State Disaster Response Fund.

The state had sought Rs 18,174 crore in September 2023 under the NDRF to take up relief works in drought-hit areas, including Rs 5,662 crore for compensating farmers who suffered crop losses during the kharif season due to inadequate rainfall.

Karnataka had declared 223 taluks as drought affected on September 13, 2023.

It also claimed that due to drought, crops were damaged on 48 lakh hectares, resulting in a loss of Rs 35,162 crore.

On April 22, the Centre on Monday assured the court that the demand to release drought relief funds for Karnataka would be dealt with expeditiously in view of a clearance from the Election Commission.

On April 8, the court had said the Centre and States should not fight over release of funds, while considering a plea by the Karnataka government to direct the Centre to release Rs 35,162 Cr for drought relief in view of "grave humanitarian distress" and "calamity" of severe nature faced by it.

In its writ petition filed through advocate D L Chidananda, the Karnataka government said the Union government's Ministry of Home Affairs has failed to take a final decision and release the financial assistance from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) to the state for drought relief, though six months have lapsed since filing of a report by the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT).

It contended the Centre's action in not releasing the financial assistance for drought arrangement as per the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) is ex-facie illegal, arbitrary and violative of fundamental rights guaranteed to its citizens under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.



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