Bengaluru: Rain-deficit Karnataka declares 98 taluks drought-hit

Bengaluru, Aug 12 (IANS) With the southwest monsoon failing to sustain in the first two months of the season across Karnataka, the state government on Wednesday declared as drought-hit 98 taluks in 26 of 30 districts.

“Though the monsoon began well with excess to normal rainfall in the state’s coastal, southern, central and northern regions in June, it has been less than normal and deficit over the last five-six weeks resulting in drought conditions in 98 of 220 taluks across the state,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra told reporters here.

According to the state meteorology office, the monsoon was 27 percent deficit across the state since June to August 10, with total rainfall being about 400 mm as against the average 660 mm.

Noting that Kalaburgi, Raichur, Vijayapura and Yadgir districts in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region were the worst-affected, Jayachandra said dry spell prevailed in 26 of the 30 districts for over a month, barring sporadic or erratic rains.

“As 16 districts, including 10 in the northern region, had deficit rain, farmers could not take up sowing operation,” Jayachandra said.

With hot climate continuing from summer season and absence of momentum in monsoon rains, water level in 13 major reservoirs are at lower levels than in the past.

“We are monitoring the situation and will approach the central government for aid if rains do not revive this month and the situation does not improve,” the minister said.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has directed the cabinet sub-committee on drought to assess the situation and submit a report on the impact of a truant monsoon till July 31 on farming, reservoirs, dams, lakes, rivers and hydro-electric generation in the state.

“We have released Rs.200 crore so far for relief measures, including Rs.75 crore on supplying drinking water in tankers and another Rs.75 crore on reactivating dried up borewells by digging them deeper in drought-hit districts,” Jayachandra added.

The state has already witnessed about 200 farmers committing suicide since June due to various factors, including failure to repay debts, non-remunerative prices for their produce and non-payment of arrears by sugar mills.

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