Karnataka

Rainfall revives hopes in drought-hit areas of Bidar district

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Recent rainfall seems to have brought some respite to the drought-hit district and helped Bidar farmers.

The five taluks n the district received rain ranging from 19 mm to 33 mm on Saturday and 15-24 mm on Sunday. This is far below the annual average of 170 mm for Bidar for the month of September, but has still been useful, officials said.

The immediate benefit has been that the demand for power has declined, as irrigation pumpsets were less used. The downpour also increased the extent and depth of moisture built-up in the soil, benefiting standing crop of pulses, sugarcane and millet. These showers have also helped boost the aquifer at least in the three taluks of Bidar, Humnabad and Basava Kalyan that have laterite soil, officials said.

“However, our work on drought mitigation is on,” said Sharat B., Chief Executive Officer of the Bidar Zilla Panchayat (ZP). In order to combat drought, the ZP is taking steps such as ensuring drinking water supply by rejuvenating water structures, desilting and cleaning of open wells and tanks, creating watershed structures, and as a last resort, building new community water sources like borewells.

Drought relief

The ZP will create jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) on public land or private fields for poorer families, Mr. Sharat said. Community works such as watershed development, growing of grass and fodder on public land, and other works allowed by the scheme’s guidelines will also be taken up.

MNREGA works would also ensure that private land of poor and Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes farmers are also maintained, he said. To ensure adequate supply of fodder, the ZP will distribute grass and fodder seeds to farmers with irrigation facilities and buy fodder from them if they had excess stock.

“Earlier, we relied on fodder banks and grew fodder on government farms and public grazing land. But now, apart from opening fodder banks, we want to motivate farmers to grow the African tall grass and other related varieties and buy the produce from the farmers,” Mr. Sharat said. Bidar, which receives around 900 mm of rainfall every year, is suffering from a severe drought situation, with rainfall being only half of the aggregated average. Groundwater table has been pushed down by 6.6 metres in Aurad and 13.5 metres in Bhalki, with the average reduction in water table being 10 metres. Nearly 90 per cent of the land has been sown, but officials suspect a crop loss of over 50 per cent.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:31:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/rainfall-revives-hopes-in-droughthit-areas-of-bidar-district/article7627416.ece

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