Drought to hit food output

Sowing taken up only in about 70 per cent area


Almost all rain-dependent crops in Chitradurga, Tumkur, Kolar, Bangalore rural, Bidar, Gulbarga, Bagalkot, Gadag, Dharwad, Bellary, Kolar and Ramanagar districts have been damaged due to deficit rainfall. Though the monsoon started early, it failed by the end of June in places where agriculture is mainly dependant on the monsoon rains, officials in Agriculture department said.

Agriculture department has estimated that crops worth over Rs 700 crore covering 86 taluks in 20 districts have been damaged due to failure of monsoon rains. The department had set a target of 72 lakh hectare for sowing in the Kharif season. But sowing was done on only 54.94 lakh hectare land.

The worst affected is Bidar. Farmers had sown tur crop in about four lakh hectare, but nearly 2.8 lakh hectare of crop has been damaged due to lack of rains. Similarly, horticulture crops including onion, chilli and potato covering 60,521 hectare have also been damaged in the district.

The Agriculture department has asked farmers to take up alternative crops such as jowar and sunflower instead of tur in Bidar and Gulbarga districts. In other districts, farmers are advised to take up ragi as the alternative crop, officials said.

Relief measures
It is estimated that Rs 163 crore for drinking water supply in rural areas, Rs 65 crore in urban areas and Rs 53.17 crore for providing fodder is required to take up drought relief works.

The State Government is likely to submit a detailed report on the drought situation in the State to the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar in Delhi on Friday at a meeting convened by the Centre to take stock of the situation. 

The State will also seek financial assistance from the Centre to take up relief measures, officials said.

‘Govt not serious about situation’
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah has alleged that the government is not serious in handling the drought situation. There are 86 taluks that have been facing drought. But the government has not released even a rupee as relief to these taluks, he alleged.
In a press conference on Thursday, Siddaramaiah said that the Centre has released Calamity Relief Fund and National Calamity Contingency Fund of Rs 153.51 crore. But the government had not bothered to spend it, he charged.

He also criticised the CM  for not attending the programme organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Devraj Urs. “It was a State government programme. For  CM, the chintan baitak in Shimla is more important than Urs’ birthday celebrations,” he said.

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