Bangalore: Targeting his successor DV Sadananda Gowda, former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on Monday sought to put his own party government on the mat for its alleged laxity on management of severe drought, and demanded waiver of crop loans of farmers.
Speaking on a debate on drought in the Legislative Assembly, he said no plan had been prepared to mitigate drinking water crisis in villages, provide jobs under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and hold sufficient stock of fodder.
Yeddyurappa did not name anyone but left no one in doubt that his target was Gowda who had to make way for his nominee Jagadish Shettar, who was sworn-in Chief Minister recently, after being in office for 11 months.
Hitting out at the State Government for its alleged laxity in the implementation of relief measures to tackle drought, he appealed to Shettar to waive crop loans borrowed by farmers last year.
"Neither agricultural universities nor the agriculture department prepared action plans to tackle drought", he said, adding, he would tour the State for a month from August first week and monitor relief works staying in villages.
He also urged Shettar to set aside Rs 10,000 crore to mitigate drought on a war footing, and wanted him to clearly spell out programmes to be implemented to tackle drought in the next three-four months.
As a one-time measure, he demanded waiver of crop loans to the tune of Rs 2300 crore borrowed by farmers last year from cooperative banks. On account of drought last year also, farmers could not harvest yields. This year’s drought has rubbed salt on wounds of farmers, he said.
The farmers repaid cooperative loans when they harvested bumper crops. Cooperatives disbursed Rs. 5852 crore in 2009-10 and recovered 94 per cent of loans, he said.
Out of Rs 10,000 crore, he demanded allocation of Rs 1500 crore for granting Rs 5,000 to each of the 30 lakh small and marginal farmers under "Suvarna Bhoomi" scheme for purchase of seeds and other agricultural purposes.
He also strongly opposed the proposed foreign trips by legislators when the entire State was facing drought. He appealed to government employees to donate a week’s salary towards taking up drought relief works. Public undertakings can also pitch in and extend their support.