The Centre has released 60,000 tons of foodgrains to Karnataka this year in addition to its regular allotment of 2.40 lakh tons in view of the state facing severe drought conditions, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said on Saturday.
"30,000 tons of rice and 30,000 tons of wheat allotted immediately as calamity relief over and above the state's (regular) allotment in 2012-13... Karnataka has been allotted 2.40 lakh tons of foodgrains for distribution among Below Poverty Line (BPL) families," he said after holding discussions with Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in Bangalore.
Four backward districts of Bidar, Chitradurga, Davanagere and Gulbarga would continue to get additional allotment of foodgrains for the next six months, he said.
On the hour-long meeting, also attended by the state's Rural Development Minister Jagadish Shettar and top officials, he said issues concerning rural sanitation, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and drinking water problems were debated.
Only 20 per cent of gram panchayats in Karnataka had turned "Nirmal Gram Panchayats" (villages free from open defecation) and he suggested that in the next five years all panchayats be covered under the programme.
Drinking water has remained another problem as not even 50 per cent of the area had been covered so far. Districts like Tumkur, Chitradurga, Mandya and Bellary faced the serious issue of flouride content in water and at least 30,000 habitations suffered from this menace, he said.
The Centre had asked the state government to submit a proposal to supply surface water in areas facing potable water problem and proposed to implement the project in Bijapur and Chitradurga on a pilot basis under the public private partnership (PPP) mode.
The Centre would contribute 30 per cent of the cost, state 30 per cent and 40 per cent would be borne by the private sector for this project, he said.
On Prime Minister Gram Sadak Yojana, which aims at providing all-weather road connectivity, he said Karnataka had already exceeded the target of connecting 250 villages as required under the programme by linking 500 villages.
"250 villages need to be covered under the project and by end of this July," he said, adding that a "solution" will be worked out so that more villages can be made part of the programme in this period.
Mr Ramesh said the Centre would sanction upgradation of 2,000 kms of road in the state.
Also, it has released Rs 700 crore under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and assured flow of funds upon the state furnishing utilisation certificate.
In the last three years, the Centre provided Rs 2,000 crore to the state for implementing watershed management programme in 16 lakh hectares to increase productivity in semi-arid areas, he said.
"There has been no discrimination in the matter of release of funds to Karnataka," Mr Ramesh said.