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Karnataka Declared Drought-Hit Third Time In a Row

Nagarjun Dwarakanath | CNN-News18

Updated: October 19, 2016, 3:54 PM IST
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Karnataka Declared Drought-Hit Third Time In a Row
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Bengaluru: Karnataka was declared drought-hit for the third time in a row, marking a huge agrarian crisis in the state.

In the recent cabinet meeting the state declared that 110 taluks were drought-hit and fears that 50 more taluks might soon join the list.

The Revenue department is already on the ground preparing a preliminary report on the matter to submit to the government.

Karnataka was the first state to be declared drought hit in both 2015 and 2016.

"In 2014 there was drought in some parts of the state, in 2015 it was there throughout and this year its spread around 24 districts. There is no question of second crop (Kharif), as there is severe water shortage." Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishne Byregowda said.

The crop sown area in the Cauvery belt has come down drastically. As a precautionary measure, the government had earlier instructed the farmers to not sow paddy, which is a water consuming crop.

From August to October there was about 70% shortage in rainfall as a result of which the livelihood of over 20 lakh farmers is at stake.

26 Lakh hectares out of the total of 71 lakh hectares of sown area has been declared drought-hit and the numbers could see a sharp rise.

The production of cereal and grain will be a hit this year, the expectation was to reach 140 lakh tonnes but the government feels that this number could well fall short.

The state witnessed the same scenario in 2015 when the production was 110 lakh tonnes as to the expectations of 135 lakh tonnes.

But what's shocking is that the taluks on the foothills of western ghats are declared drought-hit.

Farmers allege that over 1 lakh trees were mercilessly chopped off to upgrade the power grid in the Coorg district which in turn harmed the rainfall in western ghats.

However, the government has downplayed such allegations and claimed that the forest cover in the state has gone up by 10% over the last decade.

"The options of cloud seeding also must be looked at in the coming days as Global climate change is an issue that affects everyone of us. The government is doing everything to reduce the burden on the farmers and will provide adequate employment to the affected families." Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishne Byregowda said.

First Published: October 19, 2016, 3:51 PM IST
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