Expert panel to find ways of tackling drought: CM HDK

The state government will constitute an expert committee to go into various facets of drought, including finding permanent steps for its mitigation.

Replying to a discussion on the prevailing drought in the state, in the Assembly, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday said the panel will go into reasons for the recurring drought in the state.

The solutions will include permanent measures for ensuring drinking water supply, ground water recharge, water management, minimise environmental impact among others.

Revenue Minister R V Deshpande pointed out that in the last 18 years, the state was hit by drought for 14 years.

He said the state received below normal South-West monsoon (June 1 to September 30) severely affecting farmers who suffered extensive crop loss. A total of 100 taluks had been declared drought-hit. To make matters worse, during the Rabi season the North-East monsoon (October 1 to December 31) too had failed clocking a deficit of 40%. The government will announce a separate list of drought-hit taluks where the Rabi crop has failed, he said.

The government was giving top priority to drinking water, employment under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and ensuring adequate fodder stocks for cattle.

Deshpande announced that the grants for task force on drinking water in the 100 drought-hit taluks will be enhanced from the present Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore. He said Rs 25 lakh will be provided for drinking water schemes in non-drought hit taluks.

Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said the number of person hours under MGNREGS for the year 2018-19 had been enhanced from 8.15 crore hours to 10 crore hours - the highest ever in Karnataka till date. He said the enhancement will help provide more employment in drought-hit talks and thereby prevent migration.

Gowda said that the government had taken 282 private borewells on rent across the state by paying up to Rs 16,000 per month each to meet drinking water needs in drought-hit areas. Drinking water was being supplied on a need-based basis in tankers to villages.

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Expert panel to find ways of tackling drought: CM HDK

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