The north interior Karnataka region, comprising 12 districts, is facing severe drought — the worst in 44 years.
Meanwhile, the state on the whole is facing 28 per cent deficit rains. The paucity of rains have affected the kharif sowing as well as standing crops. And, eventually it may be tough to reach even half of the food production target for the current year.
According to Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre director G S Srinivasa Reddy, the south interior Karnataka is better positioned than the north when it comes to rainfall. Still, the three coastal districts are facing deficit rain of 25 pc.
The 12 districts of the north interior Karnataka which are reeling under drought are Bagalkote, Vijayapura, Raichur, Bidar, Yadgir, Gadag, Ballary, Koppal, Belagavi, Haveri, Dharwad and Kalaburgi. The deficit is as high as 46 pc from the normal rains it should have received.
The state is receiving intermittent rains, but it is not going to be of much help except increasing the water levels in reservoirs. The area under the kharif crop is 73 lakh hectares. But, sowing is done only in 47 lakh hactares.“If the sowing of cereals, oil seeds, pulses and cash crops are done only in 65 pc of the targeted area, then food production would come down by half,” he said.
The state has already given drought tag to 126 taluks of the total 176 taluks. And, more taluks may be included in the list. Reddy said, “The crop loss suffered already can’t be recouped. Dry spell coupled with scanty rainfall have affected crops. Crops in nearly 10 lakh ha are badly affected. The kharif season is from May to October.”
Lack of adequate rain has negatively impacted the hydel power generation in Linganamakki and Supa because the water level is just about 44 pc of the maximum level. There are 13 major reservoirs with about 850 tmc. As of now, the level is only 450 tmc. Last year, during this month, the total water holding in the reservoirs was 750 tmc.
The officer said that 60 pc of the state’s minor irrigation tanks have gone dry, and in the rest 40 pc, the water level is about 35-40 pc.
Sources in the secretariat said the state, in a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister on Monday, may put the crop loss at Rs 10,000 crore. At the most the Centre may release 10 pc of the total relief the state required, the sources said. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also convened an all-party meeting to discuss the Mahadayi river water sharing issue, in Vidhana Soudha on Sunday at 11 am. Farmers’ representatives besides the State MPs have been invited for the meeting.