Karnataka Government moves Supreme Court seeking release funds from Centre for drought management : The Tribune India

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Karnataka Government moves Supreme Court seeking release funds from Centre for drought management

Karnataka Government moves Supreme Court seeking release funds from Centre for drought management

Photo for representational purpose only. Tribune file



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 24

The Karnataka Government has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the Central Government to release Rs 18,171.44 crore to the state for drought management.

Stating that the state was reeling under "severe drought", affecting the lives of its people, the Karnataka Government urged the top court to direct the Centre to give it financial assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

For the Kharif 2023 season (June-September), a total of 223 out of 236 taluks were declared as drought-affected -- 196 taluks severely affected and the remaining 27 moderately affected, it said.

"Cumulatively for Kharif 2023 season, the agriculture and horticulture crop loss have been reported in more than 48 lakh hectares with the estimated loss (cost of cultivation) of Rs 35,162 crore," the state government submitted.

"In terms of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the Union of India is under obligation to render financial assistance to the state governments," it said.

The Karnataka Government urged the top court to declare that the Centre's action in not releasing the financial assistance for drought arrangement as per the NDRF was "ex-facie violative" of the fundamental rights of the people of the state guaranteed under Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.

"Further, the impugned action of the Central Government is violative of statutory scheme of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the manual for drought management and the guidelines on constitution and administration of the State Disaster Response Fund and National Disaster Response Fund," it submitted.

Under the manual for drought management, the Centre was required to take a final decision on the assistance to the state from the NDRF within a month of the receipt of the inter-ministerial central team (IMCT), it said.

"Despite the IMCT report, which visited various drought affected districts from October 4 to 9, 2023 and made a comprehensive assessment of drought situation in the state and consideration of the said report by the sub-committee of the National Executive Committee constituted under section 9 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, Centre has not taken a final decision on the assistance to the state from the NDRF even after a lapse of almost six months from the date of the said report," the petition submitted.

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