80 taluks facing drought for third consecutive year

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DROUGHTBangalore, Sept 4, 2013: The State government has declared as many as 167 hoblis in 80 taluks of 21 districts has drought affected this year, even as other parts continue to receive excess rainfall.

Citing it a matter of ‘serious concern,’ the government said that some of the hoblis showed all the three drought indicators, including, deficit rain while others showed two.

The regions also witnessed four or more consecutive weeks of dry spell and moisture stress.

Sources in the government said that the 80 taluks were facing drought for the third consecutive year and this has affected the ‘socio-economy of the community’.

It is said that the actual estimate of drought, despite heavy rains in the Malnad region, can be made by meagre storage of water in the minor irrigation tanks of interior Karnataka. A memorandum is being prepared by the government to seek financial assistance from Centre.

Overall, the State has received a surplus rainfall of eight per cent for the period between June 1 and August 31. However, in the rain deficit parts of the State, there was a ‘skewed spatial and temporal distribution’ of water availability.

As per the figures provided by the officials, the Agriculture department has estimated crop losses of Rs 721 crore in an area of 5.43 lakh hectares. Incidently, the loss is only pegged at 50 per cent of the cost of cultivation of the affected Kharif crops. Horticulture department too has estimated a crop loss in an area of 66,283 hectares, amounting to Rs 336.53 crore based on the cost of cultivation.

Citing the drought situation in 14 districts of Bayluseeme (south interior Karnataka), the Bayluseeme Development Board has decided to approach the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah seeking additional funds for various development works.

“At present, the Board has Rs 17.30 crore at its disposal for the 57 Assembly constituencies in the region. Each constituency will get Rs 22.70 lakh.

However, MLAs and the MLCs from these areas have been seeking additional funds due to the drought-like situation. We will approach the Chief Minister in this regard,” said the Chairman of the Board, S R Patil.

Reiterating this, Minister for Social Welfare H Anjaneya, who is MLA from Holakere in Chitradurga district, said they would seek funding of Rs one crore for each constituency.

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