Karnataka Guv lauds govt for 'achievements' amid COVID-19, Cong stages protest

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(Updating with quotes) Bengaluru, Jan 28 (PTI) Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on Thursday lauded the state administration over its 'achievements' amid the COVID pandemic, in his address to the joint sitting of the Legislature, where the Congress staged a symbolic protest alleging neglect of northern districts.

As the Governor began his customary address, Congress legislators led by their leader Siddaramaiah rose up holding placards for a couple of minutes, before they sat down and listened to the speech peacefully until completion.

In the placards, Congress MLAs accused the government of neglecting North Karnataka by not holding a legislature session in the border district of Belagavi, and not providing adequate funds or relief to flood affected parts of the region.

Legislature session is generally held once a year at Suvarna Vidhana Soudha in Belagavi, modelled on the Vidhana Soudha, the state secretariat in Bengaluru.

The Governor in his address said his government has tried its best to mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19.

'We have used the crisis as an opportunity, to build on our strengths, to create additional health infrastructure and enhance production capacity (of medical equipment).' 'Despite the challenges and the hardships imposed by the pandemic, the achievements of my government are noteworthy,' he said.

Stating that Karnataka ranks number one in India Innovation Index, second in milk production, fourth in public affairs index, sixth in SDG India Index, Vala said 'we contribute 8 per cent to the GDP of India and 40 per cent to country's IT exports.' Listing out the various achievements, initiatives and reform measures undertaken by the state government like simplification of labour laws and land reforms besides unveiling of the new industrial policy, the Governor said, 'My government has approved 366 projects with an investment potential of Rs 53,295 crore, aimed at generating 1.54 lakh jobs during this year.' The government has declared a war on drugs, considering its adverse impact on society, especially youngsters, he said, pointing out that 4,066 cases were registered and norcotics worth Rs 34 crore seized.

He also said the Fire force in the state had saved 2,051 human lives and Rs 482 crore worth public and private properties, adding that the government has approved purchase of Aerial Ladder Platform of 90 metre height costing Rs 25 crore.

'This will be the tallest ladder in the country for fire fighting and rescue operations.' Highlighting the government's handling of the flood situation in the state, the Governor said, in total Rs 1,345 crore has been released for flood relief.

He further said despite the current challenges, the government has collected Rs 30,467 crore through commercial taxes and Rs 16,788 crore through excise department to ensure smooth funding of development programmes of the state.

Leader of opposition in the assembly, Siddaramaiah said the Congress raised strong objection to the content of the speech delivered by the Governor as the BJP government is 'trying to mislead the public through their false narratives'.

Attacking the government, in a series of tweets, he alleged CM Yediyurappa has not passed the test by any yardstick and that he has misused the Governor to mislead the public and hide the inefficiencies of the government.

'Yediyurappa has missed an opportunity to add in the Governor's speech about his efforts to topple the coalition government, hijack opposition MLAs, circus to save his government, corruption of his sons and ministers, and his apathy towards people of Karnataka,' Siddaramaiah added.PTI KSU RS BN WELCOME BN WELCOME