State planning to declare 84 taluks as drought-hit

State planning to declare 84 taluks as drought-hit

From June 1 to August 5, the state recorded 502 mm of rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 515 mm (-3% departure). DH file photo

The southwest monsoon which kicked in rigorously, causing floods and claiming 133 lives in the state between April and June, had however brought cheer to the farmers -- especially those in the command areas.

But with the monsoon weakening as rapidly as it set in, Karnataka is yet again staring at a rough agricultural year, with the state preparing to declare as many as 84 taluks in 13 districts as drought hit. Most of these districts are in north Karnataka.

Forecast for the 13 districts, which have already received deficient rainfall between June 1 and August 5, is not very encouraging for the farmers who are engaged in sowing activities. The districts are expected to receive scanty rainfall between till August 14, and the dry spell is expected to continue till the end of September.

The state which had received ‘excess’ rainfall less than two months ago, has now been classified under ‘scanty’ category. For, during the first week of August, Karnataka as a whole recorded 21 mm rainfall as against normal 58 mm (-64% departure).

From June 1 to August 5, the state recorded 502 mm of rainfall as against the normal rainfall of 515 mm (-3% departure).

C S Patil, Director-in-charge, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the weakened monsoon activity was not a good sign for the agricultural sector. Karnataka has already recorded crop loss in 2.16 lakh hectares owing to excess rains in eight districts.

“Crops, especially in the critical growth stage need frequent rainfall. Even if the rainfall activities pick up, it will not help the kharif crop, as the soil moisture levels are low. Except for Belagavi, all other districts in north Karnataka have received deficient rains in the last three weeks. Even the districts in south interior Karnataka have been receiving less than normal rainfall. As there is no indications of north Karnataka receiving normal rainfall, the said districts will most likely face an agricultural drought” he said.

G S Srinivasa Reddy, Director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) said that the state government was presently assessing various factors, before declaring drought.

He said that impact indicators such as area sown, moisture adequacy index, crop health, and hydrological drought index were some of the factors that are taken into consideration for declaring drought in a region.

Reddy said that various departments including agriculture and water resources are presently carrying out the assessment, which is said to be completed by the month end. If the indicators establish a drought situation, then a memorandum will be sent to the Centre seeking assistance.

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