156 of Karnataka’s 176 taluks are officially drought-hit

In what could present a grave picture of the agrarian crisis in the State, as much as 88.6% of the area in Karnataka has now been declared drought-hit. On Wednesday, a Cabinet sub-committee decided to declare 56 more taluks drought-hit, with the State recording a deficit of -49% rainfall in the northeast monsoon.

As many as 100 taluks that received deficit rain in the southwest monsoon, affecting kharif cultivation, had already been declared drought-hit. Of the 156 officially drought-hit taluks, 95 are “severely hit” while the remaining 61 are “moderately hit”. There are 176 taluks in the State. In 2016-2017, as many as 164 taluks were declared drought-hit.

“The State has suffered an estimated loss of ₹20,000 crore owing to drought in the kharif season. A joint survey will now be undertaken to estimate losses in the rabi season. The net result of floods and the failure of the southwest and northeast monsoons will have a severe impact on the Gross State Domestic Product,” Revenue Minister R.V. Deshpande told presspersons here on Wednesday. Sowing did not take place in about 7 lakh hectares of 73 lakh hectares during the kharif season owing to deficit rain.

Explaining the extent of impact on agricultural activities in the State, he said: “Of the 31.80 lakh hectares that come under rabi cultivation, sowing has taken place on only 26.03 lakh hectares. In the corresponding period last year, the total area under cultivation in the rabi season was 29.09 lakh hectares.”

This means, he said, sowing has not been taken up at all on 5.8 lakh hectares. In all, 12 districts in north interior Karnataka, dependent on northeast monsoon, have been affected.

According to a Revenue Department official, cultivation of crops such as jowar, Bengal gram, horse gram, wheat and maize, among other crops, has been hit severely. “For the first time, the State has declared taluks drought-hit in both the kharif and rabi seasons,” the official said.

Relief measures

Meanwhile, the State government has increased the fund allocated to drought-hit taluks from ₹50 lakh to ₹1 crore.

Mr. Deshpande said that compensation of ₹2,434 crore for the losses of Karnataka during kharif was yet to be released by the Centre. He, however, said that the Centre has released ₹546 crore towards flood relief, of which ₹323 crore will be given to farmers as input credit.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 9:34:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/156-of-karnatakas-176-taluks-are-officially-drought-hit/article25837156.ece

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