Karnataka island in middle of the Krishna becomes desert

A resident carrying water from the dried Krishna river. Photo: Special Arrangement  

People of the Neelakantarayanagaddi village in north-western Karnataka have always needed a ferry to reach the mainland. Living on an island in the middle of the Krishna river, they are virtually cut off for at least three months in a year when the river is in spate during the monsoon.

Neelakantarayanagaddi is no longer an island. Severe drought has left the Krishna dry and the villagers now walk for miles on the parched riverbed for a pot of drinking water.

When The Hindu visited the village, two children, less than 10-years-old were trudging on the riverbed with small pots on their heads. They said they had been looking for water since morning and had managed to bring home two pots.

“I never thought that we, the people of this island, which faces floods every year, would be up against a drinking water crisis and end up searching for water,” said an elderly resident.

Over 500 residents from 120 households here own around 500 acres of land. In better times, they grow seasonal crops such as jowar, green gram and red gram. But the shortage of rain during the kharif and rabi seasons last year meant they grew only jowar, leaving most of the fields fallow.

The resulting foodgrains shortage has rendered them unable to feed their families for the whole year.

Most of the residents on the island have migrated in search of jobs.

CM visits affected areas

T.V. Sivanandan reports from Kalaburagi: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah visited the drought-hit areas and cattle sheds at Aurad (B) village in Kalaburagi taluk and Donnur and Narona in Aland taluk in Kalaburagi district on Friday. He told presspersons that he would visit New Delhi soon after his tour of the drought-hit areas, to apprise Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh of the situation.

“I will demand early release of the relief amount to pay compensation to farmers who lost their rabi crops and also take up drought relief works,” he said. The government had sought Rs. 1,417 crore as compensation for farmers.

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Printable version | Jun 16, 2021 3:43:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-island-in-middle-of-the-krishna-becomes-desert/article8481368.ece

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