Govt cuts Hyderabad-Karnataka grants by Rs 500 crore

Kalaburagi: Beset with financial problems being faced in the wake of announcement of loan waivers for farmers, the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government has drastically slashed the grants to the Hyderabad-Karnataka Region Development Board (HKRDB). Instead of Rs 1,500 crore, the HKRDB will get only Rs 1,000 crore this year.

Though HKRDB Secretary Subodh Yadav did not reveal the reasons for the cut in the grants by the state government, he did reveal that it has directed the HKRDB to prepare the action plan for only Rs 1,000 crore this year.

Since 2013-14 when the HKRDB came into being, it had been sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore per year. However, following pressure from the leaders from the region, led by Mr Mallikarjun Kharge, the then Siddaramaiah government enhanced the grants to Rs 1,500 crore annually from 2017-18.

It has come to light now that during the last financial year, though the HKRDB was sanctioned Rs 1,500 crore, the state government released only Rs 1000 crore.

In all, the Board has to get around Rs 2,400 crore from the state government since the 2013-14.

Interacting with the media after meeting the legislators and officials of HKRDB on Saturday, Board chairman Rajashekhar Patil, however, feigned ignorance about the direction given by the state government to prepare the action plan for only Rs 1,000 crore this year.

But he hastened to add that he would hold a meeting with the Chief Minister and also Deputy Chief Minister Dr G. Parameshwar before the Assembly session begins in Belagavi. “I will apprise both the CM as well as the deputy chief minister of the situation and seek immediate release of grants due to HKRDB. The state government has so far released Rs 2,928 crore, of which Rs 2,745 crore has been spent so far," he said.

Mr Patil admitted that lack of staff with HKRDB affected its functioning. "More than 50 per cent of sanctioned posts are vacant. Immediate steps are being taken to fill the vacancies."

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