Dry spell continues, drinking water scarcity haunts people

Officials in other taluks yet to make use of drought relief funds

Dry spell continues, drinking water scarcity haunts people

The district has been hit by drought badly with all the seven taluks being declared as drought-hit.

Farmers are suffering due to failure of monsoon even though water has been let into canals from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam.

As Kodagu district is receiving rainfall, there has been some inflow of water into the KRS dam. So, the crops — mainly sugarcane — which had started to wither have sprung back to life. However, the water in the canals have not reached the tail-ends in Maddur and Malavalli taluks.

If the dry spell in the district continues, the dam would get empty causing more hardships for the farmers. The plight of dry land farmers, depending on rainfall, is pathetic. The seeds sown in April have dried up. If it does not rain now, the farmers would lose another crop.

The agriculture department had expected sowing in 1.90 lakh hectares of land, but seeds were sown only on 16,578 acres of land, which is roughly below 10 per cent of the target.

The average expected rainfall in the district in May is 122.9 mm, but only 58.7 mm rainfall was received. Expected rains in June is 43.9 mm, but only 11.4 mm was recorded. It is a failure even in July, so far.

People are facing scarcity of even drinking water. So, water is being provided in tankers to two villages in Malavalli taluk, one village in K R Pet taluk, three villages in Maddur and four villages in Nagamangala taluk.

The authorities concerned have not availed the permission of the task force constituted at the district level to implement drought relief works. In Nagamangala taluk alone, the expenditure incurred on providing water in tanks has crossed Rs 3 lakh.

So, the district administration has issued a notice, seeking clarification. It has pointed out that an amount sufficient enough to provide permanent solution to the problem has been spent on a quick fix solution.

Water bodies such as lakes and ponds have dried up, resulting in depletion of groundwater level too.

Hence, the problem would only aggravate if the monsoon fails in July also — leading to severe drinking water problems. Fodder stocked for cattle in the district is sufficient for four weeks. If rains fail, even fodder scarcity will start haunting farmers.

The district administration already had Rs 1.35 crore under the Central Relief Fund (CRF). This year, Rs 8 crore was released. It has spent Rs 6.74 crore on 361 drinking water projects and Rs 61 lakh on 13 roads.

 A report has been submitted to the Panchayat Raj ministry that 148 works have been executed successfully, based on which Rs 1.93 crore has been released.

Under CRF, Rs 2 crore is yet to be released. Following directions from district in-charge minister R Ashoka, Rs 20 lakh has been released.

However, only Mandya taluk officials have submitted a project report for the works. Officials in other taluks are yet to wake up to make good use of the drought relief funds.

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