Former Karnataka CM and senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Tuesday held a meeting with various associations related to auto, taxi and others. He urged the ruling BJP government in the state to announce a special stimulus package for the Economically Weaker Sections in the society. He also suggested that the government can allow sale of liquor in green districts that have no active cases of COVID-19, with certain restrictions.
"I urge the government to announce a special stimulus package for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in society. The government must immediately provide help to daily wagers. Many farmers too have lost their livelihood and the government must come to their aid." Siddaramaiah told media after the meeting.
He said he has demanded many times that the state government should supply free food to these families which may cost around Rs 15 to 20 crore. "In Karnataka, there are more than 20 lakh organised workers, out of which only 12 lakh workers have got Rs 2,000," he added.
Alleging discrimination in the supply of food packets and ration kits, Siddaramaiah said it was being supplied properly only in constituencies represented by BJP legislators.
"Politics is being played out in supply of food materials to the needy, keeping corporation elections in mind... We don't want to do politics at this point in time as there is a lockdown. If things continue to be the same after the lockdown ends, we will protest on the streets," he said.
"Labourers who depend on daily wages need economic stimulus. Commercial vehicles seized during lockdown should be released," he further said.
"Merely because there is an economic slowdown in the state, I don't recommend that alcohol should be allowed to be sold. But, wherever there are green districts, they can open (liquor shops) with certain restrictions, I think that they can do," Siddaramaiah told reporters in response to a question.
There are 14 districts in the state that are categorised as green, they include- Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal, Haveri, Davangere, Shivamogga, Chitradurga, Udupi, Chikmagalur, Hassan, Kodagu, Chamarajanagar, Ramanagara and Kolar.
Despite pressure to kickstart economic activities to boost the state's finances by allowing the sale of liquor and excise department too, suggesting regulated sale through state-run MSIL outlets, the Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa led government did not go ahead with it, following the Centre's guidelines and as it may lead to crowding at shops.
(With agency inputs)