Kalasapura struggles for survival as drought continues

The horticultural and agricultural gardens in Kalasapura and surrounding villages, once lush green, have turned dry, thanks to the prevailing drought situation in the district.

The farmers who were earning in lakhs of rupees from the arecanut and coconut crops are selling the trees for Rs 100 as firewood. Kalasapura, situated 22-km away from the district headquarters, has a population of 6,000. Agriculture and dairy farming were the major occupations of the people. Due to the prevailing drought situation, the farmers are migrating in search of better living.

The Kalasapura villagers told DH, “Oxen costing Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh were sold for half the rate as we failed to get fodder. We have sold even milching cows. The gram panchayat supplies water once a week through tankers and we are waiting for the water.”

To witness the agrarian crisis, all one needs to do is drive through the parched region with the farmers felling the dried arecanut and coconut trees.

“Kalasapura is the place where movies like ‘Bangarada Manushya’ and ‘Bhoothayyana Maga Ayyu’ were shot. Dr Rajkumar was bowled over by Nature’s beauty at Kalasapura. However, now the beauty is only a forgotten past,” said farmer and advocate K N Nagaraja Rao.

The situation is no different at Belavadi, Galihalli, Ishwarahalli, Sindigere, Bhaktarahalli, Machenahalli, Devagondanahalli, KB Hal and Lakhya hobli. “We have been witnessing drought for the last one decade. Many farmers have migrated. Now only senior citizens are left behind in the village,” said farmer Rame Gowda.

“Had the Karagada water project been completed five years ago and the water released to the tanks, we would have saved the arecanut and coconut trees. The elected representatives have failed to come to our rescue,” said the villagers. Further they said, “The region has received only 10 to 12 inches of rainfall in the last one decade. All the ponds have gone dry. The groundwater level has declined drastically. Of the 3,000 borewells, water is available only in 50 to 60 borewells.”

Farmer Chandre Gowda said, “My six-acre arecanut farm is fully dry. We can survive only if the government pays the compensation for loss of crops.”

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