Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Wednesday that his government would take a relook into the decision of the previous Jagadish Shettar government to carve out 43 new taluks in the State.
The previous government had announced the formation of new taluks for political reasons, he said in the Assembly.
“We cannot straightaway implement what the previous government had announced. We will have a relook into it and make an appropriate announcement in the budget next month,” he stated, while replying to a discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address.
There are four different reports on the formation of new taluks in the State. But many new taluks have been announced, though there was no proposal for their formation. All this was done for political reasons, he said.
Siddaramaiah said his government would implement all pending irrigation projects in five years, including those in the Cauvery and Krishna river basins. The chief minister said that already, the State had procured no less than 1.5 tmc ft of water from Maharashtra to tide over the present crisis in the Krishna river basin.
“Thankfully, the rain gods have smiled upon us and it appears that 166 of the 176 taluks have received 40 per cent additional rainfall than normal,” he said. The proposed Yettinahole project which envisages supply of drinking water to the parched Kolar, Chikkaballapur and Bangalore Rural districts will also be taken up. The plan is to spend about Rs 10,000 crore every year for this purpose, he said.
He blamed the previous BJP government for the power shortage in the State and said he had issued directions to supply three phase power for four hours in the day and two hours in the night in rural areas.
“Not a single megawatt of power was generated in the last five years. As a result, the State is facing this problem,” he said. He said even if the government were to purchase additional power from outside, there was no corridor available to provide it to the State.
He said Karnataka presently requires no less than 12,000 MW of power to add to the existing power generation. He said that the Power department had been exempted from the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act to initiate purchase of fresh transformers which were burnt due to heavy load.
Siddaramaiah alleged that the BJP had not maintained fiscal discipline during its rule, leading to debt burden. The total outstanding debt of the government is Rs 1.3 lakh crore. The government is spending Rs 9,550 crore for debt servicing in a year, he said, adding that his government would borrow money only if it is necessary and spend the borrowed money only on asset creation.
The chief minister said the ‘rice at Re 1 per kg’ scheme would be launched from next month and the government was ready to take the financial burden for this purpose.
“The intention is to ensure that nobody goes hungry in the State. Every person should get adequate food to eat. It is a major step in this regard,” he said.
The total burden on the government due to the rice, loan waiver schemes, enhancement of incentives to dairy farmers and housing subsidy will be Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 crore, he said.
He said that the government never acted in haste over sops which were announced within 24 hours of his taking charge as chief minister.
“We have confined ourselves to the manifesto. There was no haste. We just delivered on the promises made to the people of the State,” he said.
Siddaramaiah said his government would take stringent action against all officials named in the illegal mining report and would not spare anyone.