Monsoon failure: Govt declares 156 taluks drought-hit

The state government on Wednesday declared 156 taluks in Karnataka as drought-hit following the failure of Northeast Monsoon (October 1 to December 31-Rabi season).

The government had earlier declared 100 taluks as drought-hit due to below average rainfall during the Southwest Monsoon (June 1 to September 30-Kharif season). There are 178 taluks in the state and 49 taluks were added recently.

Addressing a press conference in the city, Revenue Minister R V Deshpande said of the 156 taluks, 95 are severely hit and the remaining moderately hit by the drought.

The total loss due to floods, landslides and failure of Southwest and Northeast Monsoon has been estimated at Rs 20,000 crore, Deshpande said.

The total deficiency during the Northeast Monsoon till date is 49%. The deficiency is most in North interior
Karnataka (66%). This region accounts for 90% of
Rabi sowing. Inter-departmental teams, comprising agriculture, water resources, horticulture, revenue
officials among others, will visit the taluks for ground-level assessment, the minister said.

‘Stringent parameters’

Deshpande said the new rules, stipulated by the Centre, make it mandatory that drought-declared taluks are classified as severely and moderately hit areas.

The manual states, “An estimation of crop damage/loss of 33% or more on the basis of field verification will qualify for the declaration of drought. However, for the drought to qualify as one of a ‘severe’ nature, the estimation of damage/loss to crops should be more than 50%.”

The minister said the new drought assessment parameters are very stringent. Central assistance is provided for taluks under the ‘severe’ category only and the state government has to prove severity in terms of three out of the four main impact indicators.

These include crop situation-related indices, remote sensing-based vegetation indices, soil moisture-related indices and hydrological indices, he explained.

In the state, the Rabi sowing has been done on 26.03 lakh hectares of land (81.89%) as against a target of 31.80 lakh hectares on December 21, Deshpande said.  

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Monsoon failure: Govt declares 156 taluks drought-hit

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