By Vincent D’Souza – MYSORE
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah may pride himself on providing rice to the poor at `1 a kg. But there was no ‘Anna Bhagya’ for tribals who visited his hometown for Dasara.
Around 100 tribals, who were invited to the city under the ‘Mysore Darshana’ programme, where the poor visit tourist spots for free, were left in the lurch on Sunday as they struggled to get an affordable meal.
The tribals, who were delighted over the invite to Dasara, had left Bandipur early in the morning in KSRTC buses and were to be received at the Palace Gate at 9 am. But no functionary turned up and finally Congress leader K R Mohan Kumar received them at 10.30 am by offering flowers.
Then, they visited the Mysore Zoo and Palace. According to the plan, they were to have lunch at the Dasara Food Mela in the Scouts and Guides Ground and then proceed towards Chamundi Hills before returning to their hamlets.
But they were in for a rude shock at the lunch venue when they arrived at 3 pm. The tribals could not find an ‘affordable meal’ in any of the 50 plus stalls in the sprawling premises. “We were brought here saying we will get rice and sambar for `10-`15. But there is nothing of that sort. Even a single dosa is `30. That will not take care of our hunger. Everything here is costly and we do not have sufficient money to buy it,” said a tribal.
Several attempts by Ratnamma, member of Mysore Darshana sub-Committee, to contact sub-committee chairman R M Rajappa over phone went in vain.
The tribals were seen making enquiries with shopkeepers and others about hotels in the vicinity that offers rice and sambar for `10-15.
The tribals expressed anger over the authorities not making proper arrangements for them and for misguiding them. “Why were we brought here? We did not ask for it. It is they who brought us here stating that they will show the places for free. It was said we have to pay only for lunch, which costs `10-15. We have come here with our old parents and kids,” said Bandappa of Kalingpura haadi.
A concerned citizen, who saw their plight, managed to arrange their lunch in a hotel in Chamundi Hills at 4 pm. The citizen chose to remain anonymous. Rajappa was not available for comment.