Bangalore: Joining the outcry against the foreign tour of a group of 15 Karnataka legislators at a time when the state was reeling under drought, former chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today urged them to return immediately and monitor the relief works.
"It is an unpardonable crime to undertake foreign tour.I will appeal to presiding officers of both houses of the Legislature and also Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar to direct the legislators to come back forthwith" Yeddyurappa told the press here.
He lashed out at some legislators including those from BJP for defending their tour abroad on the ground that it has been approved by the chief minister, speaker and chairman of legislatures and said "not only foreign tour, even they should not go to other states in the country at this hour".
Yeddyurappa, who returned from a visit of drought-hit nine districts in the state, warned the legislators that people would teach them a lesson if they do not return immediately and monitor drought relief works.
He did not agree with a survey report which indicated that the ruling BJP`s popularity graph was on the decline in the wake of dissident activity and remarked "such issues will be looked into by some intellectuals in our party in Delhi".
Yeddyurappa, who was forced to quit as Chief Minister last year after being indicted by the Lokayukta report on illegal mining, urged the state government to earmark another Rs 5,000 crore for desilting of tanks and extend financial assistance to farmers in drought ravaged areas.
In a letter to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, he narrated the plight of people and live stock.
He charged that inertia has gripped the officials and they had not shown any concern for the sufferings of people.
Yeddyurappa said he visited parts of Tumkur, Chitradurga, Bijapur, Bagalkot, Dharwad, Gadag, Mysore and Chamarajnagar from August 21 to 31.
"I saw in several places there is acute shortage of drinking water, fodder. People complained that they were not getting employment and wages", he pointed out but hastended to add that "I am not accusing the government of failing to take up relief works. The government is doing whatever it can".
Yeddyurappa, who claimed that it was because of his insistence that his party government waived farmers` loan upto Rs 25,000, wanted Shettar to earmark Rs 2,000 crore for desilting of tanks as they are empty now and Rs 3,000 crore to those who have not been able to get loans from any financial institutuions.
He said the government should extend financial aid to farmers to motivate them to grow fodder and the Centre should reimburse Rs 3,500 crore towards loan waiver scheme so that the government can utilise it to help farmers who have small land holdings.
He said he would embark upon the second leg of tour in drought hit areas and rejected accusations that his visit was aimed at deriving "political mileage".