86 taluks declared drought-affected

86 taluks declared drought-affected

Govt to seek grants from Centre under the National Calamity Relief Fund

Addressing a joint press conference in Bangalore, after attending a Cabinet Sub-committee on scarcity, Revenue Minister Karunakara Reddy and Agriculture Minister S A Ravindranath said, 86 taluks in the districts of Bangalore urban, Bangalore rural, Ramanagara, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Chamarajnagar, Mysore, Mandya, Bellary, Koppal, Raichur, Gulbarga, Bidar, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Bijapur and Gadag have been declared as drought-hit.

The most severely affected has been Gulbarga district with 10 taluks being declared drought-hit. Six taluks in Mandya and five taluks each in Kolar, Tumkur, Bellary, Raichur, Bidar and Bijapur have also been declared drought-hit following below average rainfall. 

In all, 308 hoblis have been hit by the dry spell. Raichur received 90 per cent below average rainfall, the lowest in the last 40 years.

Reddy said, deputy commissioners and Revenue department officers have been directed to submit an assessment report on crop loss and the severity of the drought within a week.

Memorandum to Centre

Based on the assessment report, the State government will be submitting a memorandum to the Centre seeking grants under National Calamity Relief Fund. This year, the State has recorded 529 mm rainfall, about 3 per cent less than normal. Farmers had taken up sowing in about 52 lakh hectares of the 72 lakh hectare, planned for cultivation. About 5.87 lakh hectares has been affected by the dry spell, he said.

Steps have been taken to supply drinking water through tankers in 99 villages in the State. The Government will provide 50 per cent subsidy on fodder. Goshales (home for the cows) will be opened in all taluks.Drilling of new borewells, repair of old ones and hydrofracturing will be taken up on a war-footing. The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department has taken up drinking water projects costing Rs 242 crore.

Concessions will be provided to senior citizens under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).

Cloud seeding

Reddy said, a committee comprising members of the Revenue, Finance, Agriculture departments and Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre will submit a report within the next three days on the feasibility of taking up cloud seeding programmes.

The State government will also explore the possibility of installing a doppler radar network by next year to provide real-time data on rainfall intensity, wind speeds, direction and clouds formation and composition.

The system will help track weather conditions and provide accurate weather predictions, he added.

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