Reduced KKRDB funds may hit development works

The State government has reduced grants to the Kalyana Karnataka Regional Development Board by 25 % for the 2020-2021 financial year. Though the Yediyurappa-led government recently promised to increase the special grants for the region from ₹ 1,500 crore to ₹ 2,000 crore, it has approved of only ₹ 1,134 crore against the ₹ 1,500 crore annual allocation for KKRDB. According to sources, of the total approved funds of ₹ 1,134 crore, the government has released only ₹ 544.03 crore — in two instalments, and there is no clarity over the balance ₹ 590 crore funds. Another ₹ 308.70 crore approved of for the board last year is yet to be released by the government.

The former Minister Priyank Kharge has in the past urged the government to bring clarity on the action plan and the remaining funds. He said that the board has submitted an action plan amounting to a total of only ₹ 952 crore for Cabinet approval, whereas the KKRDB has neither submitted an action plan for the balance ₹ 197 crore nor provided any details. Mr. Kharge asserted that there is apparently a lack of coordination among the Planning and Finance departments with the board.

Recently, Additional Chief Secretary (Planning and Statics) Shalini Rajneesh wrote a letter to KKRDB Secretary N.V. Prasad expressing displeasure over the slow pace of the works in the region. The higher officials also asked the board secretary to clear the pending bills pertaining to 2,344 works taken up under KKRDB funds and had already been completed. The board has spent only ₹ 533.45 crore till the end of November 2020. If KKRDB fails to spend about 78 % of the funds released through the first and second instalments, the government will not release the next instalment, the letter stated.

Vice-president of the Hyderabad Karnataka Horata Samiti Razak Ustad criticised the government for the reduction of funds to the board.

The government has nominated only the chairman for KKRDB, without forming a full-fledged body comprising eight legislators, one MP and five experts on the board for its active functioning. Mr. Ustad said that the KKRDB chairman has the sole responsibility of carrying out development works in all the six districts of the region and not his constituency only or Kalaburagi district alone. Whether the chairman had visited any one of the districts and held review meetings, he asked.

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