Karnataka Govt again urges Centre to release drought relief funds immediately 


Team Udayavani, Feb 3, 2017, 10:45 AM IST

New Delhi/Bengaluru: Karnataka state Revenue Minister Kagodu Thimmappa along with his cabinet colleague Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda met Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh in New Delhi on Thursday and urged the union government to immediately release Rs 3310 crore as drought relief fund for the state from NDRF as Rs 7097 crore Rabi crop damage is estimated due to severe water shortage in Karnataka so far.

The ministers have also informed the union minister that Rs 1782 crore fund sanctioned for Kharif crop damage hasn’t yet reached the treasury of the state government. The state government urged the centre to take necessary steps on these issues immediately.   



Karnataka is experiencing unprecedented severe drought as it is facing the fourth consecutive seasonal drought and the 6th consecutive drought year in a row from 2011 to 2016.   During Kharif 2016, the state had declared 139 out of 176 talukas as drought affected. A memorandum seeking financial assistance of Rs.4702.54 crore as per SDRF/NDRF norms was submitted to centre on November 15, last year.  A high level committee of the union government had approved release of Rs.1782.44 cr, which is yet to be released, the state government said in a memorandum submitted to the union minister during the meeting held.

In Karnataka, the North East monsoon commenced on October 2016 with a delay of 30 days and recorded only 54 mm of rainfall as against 188 mm with a deficiency of (-) 71% which is classified as “large deficient” as per IMD classification.  The rainfall recorded during the 2016 North-East monsoon is the lowest in thelast 45 years.  After analysing the seasonal condition of the Rabi crop, 160 taluks out of 176 taluks have been declared as drought affected during Rabi 2016.   

The northern districts of Karnataka account for nearly 90% of the total Rabi area in the state. The major crops grown duringRabi are Jowar, Bengal gram, Wheat, Maize, Sunflower, Safflower, Linseed and others.  Sowing of Rabi crops was taken up in an area of 25.98 lakh hectares as against target of 32.25 lakh hectares. But prolonged dry spell during Rabi season caused set back in area coverage of Rabi crops especially Jowar, Wheat and Sunflower crops.   Moisture stress due to continuous dry-spell has adversely affected agricultural crops in 13.5 lakh ha and horticultural crops in 15092 ha. The estimated loss due to agriculture and horticulture crops loss is Rs. 7097.86 crore. This is the second year in succession wherein both Kharif and Rabi crops have been badly affected due to drought.   

Due to 6 consecutive droughts, the storage in all major reservoirs plummeted to dead storage level. As on December 31, 2016 as against the total live storage of 825 TMC, only 315 TMC of water was stored, which constitutes 38% of the total capacity in all the 13 major reservoirs. The storage in Cauvery basin is only 15% of the live storage and storages in Bhadra, Tungabadra and Malaprabha are34%, 8% and 19% respectively. The water in these reservoirs is the major source for drinking, irrigation, and power generation in the state.

The Government has given directions to use existing water in the reservoirs exclusively for drinking water purpose.  Presently, 440 villages and 204 urban wards are supplied drinking water through tankers.  State has identified 4120 habitation which is likely to require supply of drinking water tanker during the summer.    The State is envisaging severe drinking water crisis in the ensuing summer and is taking all possible measures to mitigate drinking water crisis.

There are 121 lakh fodder dependent animals in 160 drought affected taluks.  Presently, there is 67.61 lakh tons of dry fodder which is expected to suffice for the next 14 weeks.  However, in a few districts, fodder availability will suffice only for 3 to 4 weeks.  Due to prolonged drought, there has been significant reduction in post-harvest crop residues which has led to severe fodder shortage. 

To overcome fodder shortage, 4 lakh minikits have been distributed to farmers free of cost to grow green fodder.  Presently, 37 goshalas (cattle camps) housing 51,879 cattle and 82 fodder banks where fodder is supplied at a highly subsidized rate of Rs.2 per Kg are operational. The prolonged dry spell has also affected the quality of milch cattle and draught animals.

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