22 more taluks in Karnataka declared drought hit
Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said that another memorandum will be submitted to the central government next Monday seeking additional relief funds for the state
The Karnataka government on Friday issued an official notification declaring 22 more taluks drought affected, based on another round of crop survey and ground truthing report conducted in the past one week.
Out of these, 11 taluks have been identified as facing "severe drought".
With this, a total of 216 taluks -- out of the total of 236 taluks in the state -- have been declared as drought affected, which includes 189 severe drought-hit and 27 moderate drought-hit taluks.
Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said that another memorandum will be submitted to the central government next Monday seeking additional relief funds for the state.
In the first phase, 195 talukas out of 236 talukas of the state were declared drought-affected, he said, "but, this year there has been a severe drought, which is unprecedented in the history, and almost all the districts are rain-deficit. Hence there was a demand to declare the rest of the taluks also as drought affected." A cabinet sub-committee headed by Gowda had met on October 9, where deputy commissioners of all districts were instructed to conduct another round of crop survey and ground truthing in 22 taluks out of the 34 taluks that were left out of the drought list.
As per the survey and ground truthing reports, 22 taluks have now been declared drought-affected, out of which 11 taluks have qualified as facing "severe drought" and 11 taluks have qualified as facing "moderate drought".
"The report also mentions that if the crop survey conducted till the end of September only is considered, 17 out of 22 taluks can be declared as "severe drought affected" and the remaining five taluks can be identified as “moderately drought affected”.
Gowda said that the memorandum will be submitted next Monday (October 16) and the state has an opportunity to seek an additional drought relief of Rs 300 to 350 crore, as per central government guidelines.
During today’s meeting with senior officials, Gowda expressed displeasure that the central government does not have the accurate data on number of small and micro farmers in the state, as a result of which the state is being treated unfairly with regard to disbursal of the drought relief fund.
"There are about 68 to 70 per cent small farmers in the state. However, according to the previous census of the central government, it is only 45 per cent. Therefore, the drought relief fund that is being released to the state is also unfair," he said, according to his office.
Pointing out that as per the Centre's guidelines regarding drought relief, compensation cannot be given to those who own more than five acres of agricultural land, the minister said, however, due to lack of rains, 41.11 lakh hectares of land in the state has witnessed crop loss.
"Additionally, 10.5 lakh hectares of land under cultivation will also be included in this list. There is no hope that the crops in the rest of the land will also give any yield to the farmers. In addition to this, if the relief is released on the basis of central government data, it will cause further injustice to the state," he said.
The figures of small and micro farmers keep changing from time to time. The central government should conduct a regular census in this regard. However, it is unfair to delay the census of small and micro farmers and consider the previous census data. Therefore, Gowda has instructed the officials to mention in the memorandum that the Centre should consider the latest statistics of the state government in the process of deciding and releasing the drought relief, his office said.
Published: 13 Oct 2023, 8:37 PM