Centre draws plan to tackle drought

With the Indian Meteorological Department predicting southwest monsoon to be around 93 pc which is below normal, the Centre has prepared a drought-mitigation plan for states including Karnataka to face the situation in case poor monsoon.

As per the contingency plan, the Ministry of Agriculture advised Karnataka to go for short-duration pulses for late sowing in case of shortfall or scanty rainfall. Even farmers can go for late-sown varieties of groundnut if situation warranted.

Farmers have been advised to go in for traditional sowing methods to preserve moisture in the soil and to keep their livestock cool. To cope with severe heatwave conditions,which are prevalent in many areas, farmers were also being advised to apply light and frequent irrigation to the standing crops. Wherever moderate rain was expected, farmers were being asked to provide mechanical support to young fruit plants and vegetables, sources in the Ministry told Deccan Herald.

In Karnataka, several districts including Chamarajanagar, Kolar, Bangalore Rural, Tumkur, Chitradurga, Davangere, Haveri, Koppal, Raichur, Bellary, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Haveri and Dharwad are identified as perennial drought-hit areas due to poor rainfall, sources said. 

So far monsoon is progressing well in Karnataka and there is no reason for panic, sources said adding that “the Centre is only giving advice to the states as a precautionary.”

 The worst-affected regions in the country this time are likely to be northwest and central India — parts of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and Kerala.

The Agriculture Ministry has already allowed states to immediately spend about Rs 900 crore to undertake appropriate measures to fight inadequate rainfall. 

The fund has been made available by allowing states to keep aside 10 per cent of their annual allocations under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

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