BENGALURU: While Karnataka is grappling with Covid-19, one of the biggest challenges it has ever faced with people dying due to lack of beds, oxygen and ventilators, several district ministers in BS Yediyurappa’s cabinet have been conspicuous by their absence.
This, despite Yediyurappa repeatedly asking them to camp in the districts they oversee and anchor the government’s efforts to fight Covid-19.
Barring a few ministers like Jagadish Shettar and KS Eshwarappa, the others have done precious little in the fight against the pandemic. Some keep track of the situation by holding virtual meetings with the district administration, but people are unconvinced about the usefulness of such exercises. “Video conferences require 3-4 hours of preparation and are a waste of time. Officials on ground have to put everything aside to attend these meetings,” said Siddaraju, a social activist from Raichur.
The prolonged absence of district ministers has not been lost on people, and anger is growing. S Suresh Kumar, Chamarajanagar district minister, drew flak for being absent from the district when 23 Covid-19 patients died due to lack of oxygen on Sunday night. He was also trolled online, and many called for his resignation, holding him responsible for the tragedy. PWD minister Govind Karjol also had to face the wrath of people in Kalaburagi for not visiting the district which is reeling under the pandemic. He has now been made Belagavi district minister.
A BJP functionary said one reason ministers are not camping in districts is because they are not natives of the districts they are in charge of. For example, DyCM Laxman Savadi who is from Belagavi has been put in charge of Raichur and urban development minister Bhyrathi Basavaraju who is from Bengaluru is in charge of Davanagere. “They visit their district for a short while and return. They don’t have any attachment with the districts,” the functionary said.

Source link Times of India


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