Karnataka seeks Rs 3,000 crore flood assistance, situation continues to be grim

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka Government on Sunday sought Rs 3,000 crore immediate relief from the Centre to tackle the worst floods in the recent memory.

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, who accompanied Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the 130-minute aerial survey of the worst-affected northern districts of Karnataka, told media persons in Belagavi, about 400 km from Bengaluru, that he has briefed Shah on the damages in the floods, which has been estimated at Rs 10,000 crore. More than 40 people have died and hundreds of heads of cattle have perished in the rains and floods. Lakhs of people have been affected and thousands have been rendered homeless.

Shah’s survey was a back-to-back visit by two powerful ministers in the Narendra Modi cabinet to the flood-ravaged districts in the state. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had visited the affected areas on Saturday.

The affected areas continued to reel under the onslaught of swirling waters released from overflowing dams inMaharashtra and Karnataka. To make matters worse, fresh spell of rains in some places has left residents in the affected places scared.

There was some improvement in transport movement even as fresh landslides were reported in hilly regions. People in hilly regions are living in fear due to continued land slides. Several foreigners were struck in Virupaksha Gudda in Koppal district, some 250 km from Bengaluru, as they ignored warnings from the authorities. Virupaksha Gudda near famous Hampi ruins is a hot spot for foreigners.

Thousands of people are camping in relief centres and numbers are steadily going up with the defence, National Disaster Relief Force and State Disaster Relief Force working overtime and rescuing marooned people every passing hour. More personnel have been deployed and one more helicopter would be pressed into service for rescue work.

Relief materials have been pouring in with politicians, media organizations, film actors, NGOs and religious institutions taking initiatives. However, the transportation is a problem as major roads have been breached at several places.

Politics continued to play out even as officials battled out to save flood affected people.

The lone support for Yediyurappa came in from former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, who said that the Chief Minister has been toiling hard and it was not time to talk about one-man ministry. All political parties should chip in to deal with the worst flood.

However, his son and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddarmaiah were not sparing the Chief Minister.

Siddaramaiah described Yediyurappa’s actions as one-man act and wanted Prime Minister to tour the flood-affected areas. He wanted the Centre to release funds generously and immediately.

He also took the opportunity to clarify that he had not visited his constituency Badami as he had undergone an eye operation and doctors have advised him against visiting dusty places. Netizens are taking a dig at Siddaramaiah for not visiting flood-affected areas. Most of the elected representatives are being greeted by angry voters in their constituencies.

There were moving stories of rescue personnel carrying an injured man for seven km. The man was struck under a fallen tree with his neck and spine damaged in Mudigere taluk in Chikkamagalur district. He has been hospitalized. Many pregnant and lactating mothers were also rescued on a priority basis.

A youth was washed away in strong current when he tried to swim in the Kabini river near Mysuru. The authorities are releasing huge quantities of water from reservoirs to maintain levels, resulting in flooding of downstream areas. This has caused more problems for the people.