It was one of those rare, but much necessary occasions. The who-is-who of Karnataka political spectrum were part of the delegation to Delhi today. CM, ten of his cabinet colleagues, Union Ministers (Sri SM Krishna, Veerappa Moily, Mallikarjun Kharge, KH Muniappa), leaders of the both the houses of legislature (Sri Siddaramaiah, Smt Motamma), JDS(s) leaders (HD Kumaraswamy, HD Revanna, Basavaraja Horatti) and almost all the members of Parliament from the State (including the Rajya Sabha members) were there.
We went with a common objective to secure Central Assistance in a horde of issues;
a) 24 of the 30 districts (123 out of 176 Taluks) have been reeling under severe drought conditions. In many villages, drinking water has to be supplied through tankers. There has been severe shortage of fodder for millions of cattle and the same is being procured from long distances. Farmers have faced huge crop losses.
b) Further to the memorandum submitted to the Central Govt last December, the State today submitted an updated request for Rs 5800 crore assistance.
c) Prices of very many crops like Tur Dal, Ginger, Onions, etc., have collapsed due to market fluctuation and the farmer needs market support.
d) Thanks to the severe reduction in the import duty on Silk, from 30% to 5% by the Central Govt, silk is generously imported from China causing inexplicable damage to the state's farmers who contribute about 50% of the national produce.
Apart from these issues we reiterated the long standing demand for amendment of the Constitution (Article 371-d) to grant special status to Hyderabad Karnataka region comprising Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal and Bellary districts, to give more thrust to Education, Employment and Development in this historically most backward area.
Then we also sought Central Govt's nod for NAMMA Metro's Second Phase which may cost Rs 26,000 Crores.
WE met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjea and Hon'ble PM Dr Manmohan Singh.
It was heartening to see all these leaders speaking in one voice, forgetting all political differences for a day, with just the interest of the State as paramount.
This is one experience, I will cherish for long.
S Suresh kumar