Thursday, Oct 16, 2003
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By Our Staff Correspondent
The statistics provided by various departments in the district show considerable "progress" of almost all the programmes implemented by the Government. The authorities claim that although the Akshara Dasoha scheme faced initial hiccups, its progress in the district has been quite satisfactory with nearly 1,28,618 schoolchildren benefiting from it. The Government also spent nearly Rs. 122 crore on laying roads and constructing bridges in the district.
According to the district in-charge and Revenue Minister, H.C. Srikantaiah, the Yashaswini health insurance scheme for farmers was successfully implemented in the district. All taluk and deputy registrars' offices in the district were computerised too. A sum of Rs. 386 lakh was spent on providing drinking water and 1,065 classrooms were constructed in primary schools. Around 3,700 Stree Shakti self-help groups were formed. Of the 7,586 projects taken up under the food-for-work scheme, 6,910 were completed, the Minister said.
The Hassan Zilla Panchayat (ZP) also took steps to ease the drinking water crisis in the district. According to the Chief Executive Officer of the ZP, R. Narayanaswamy, of the 1,333 mini water supply schemes in the district, only 67 were defunct and of the 621 piped water supply schemes, 66 were defunct. Of the 1,500 borewells that had stopped yielding water, nearly 300 were recharged. The district administration sanctioned Rs. 1 crore under the Calamity Relief Fund to tackle the water crisis in the district.
However, the district, which primarily has an agrarian economy, has faced several problems in the past four years and farmers primarily blame the policies of the Government for this. Drought relief projects taken up by the Government have not made the expected impact. There are allegations of large-scale irregularities in the scheme.
Green chilly and potato cultivators suffered the most during the past four years. They had to throw chillies on the road when traders offered them very low prices but the Government did not come to their rescue, they allege. Police wielded the cane at the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) yard in Hassan on June 26 to disperse potato growers who were protesting against the exorbitant rise in the price of potato tubers. Some farmers were hurt in the lathi-charge.
On another occasion, police lathi-charged a group of farmers who were demanding water from the Hemavathi Reservoir to protect their standing crop in the command area. Failure of the monsoon, mite menace, and an inordinate delay in the settlement of insurance claims have added to the potato farmers' woes. Coconut growers in the district have suffered because of the drought, depleting water table, and mite attack. Some have even begun chopping off the affected trees.
Farmers have had to cope with the elephant menace too. The animals from the Bannerghatta National Park strayed into the fields and damaged crops in Alur, Sakleshpur, and Hassan taluks in the district on many occasions. Coffee, cardamom, and pepper growers are also in trouble because of scarce rainfall.
According to the Deputy Commissioner, M. Maheswara Rao, 42 cases of suicides by farmers in the district had been reported, but only 25 were placed before the taluk committees concerned. Only six cases were found eligible for compensation and compensation has actually been paid in five cases only. The implementation of the Rs. 856-crore relief programme announced by the Government to help farmers has just started in the district.
The farmers of 17 villages submerged in the backwaters of the Hemavathi Reservoir Project are yet to receive compensation.
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