Cabinet sub-committee on drought, led by Karnataka Revenue Minister, instructs joint survey of 134 taluks

Minister Gowda said that the guidelines designed by the Union government for the declaration of drought do not conform with the times of climate change.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 05, 2023 | 3:38 PMUpdatedSep 05, 2023 | 3:38 PM

The Krishna Byre Gowda-led sub-committee will undertake a joint survey. (Wikimedia Commons)

On Monday, 4 September, the Karnataka Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda-led Cabinet subcommittee on the drought situation in Karnataka gave district officials instructions to undertake a joint survey in 134 taluks and submit a report within a week of concluding the “ground truthing”.

Ground truthing is a process of comparing data collected through aerial sources, like satellite imagery, with that of physical measurements gathered at the ground level.

After identifying drought places, a memorandum will be submitted to the Union government, seeking financial assistance, the Revenue Department said in a statement.

Task force under MLAs

His statement added that the Cabinet sub-committee has decided to form a task force under the chairmanship of MLAs at the Assembly Constituency level from the date of announcing the drought-hit places.

Expenditure on the provision of emergency drinking water through tankers or rented bore wells to residential areas where there is a shortage of drinking water will be defrayed through the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF).

In the statement, the sub-committee said that on 19 August, a joint survey was conducted and it found that out of 113 taluks, 62 were eligible to be declared as drought-affected places, as per guidelines.

However, after the joint survey, there were reports that the crop situation had worsened again. So, it was decided to conduct another joint survey in the remaining 51 taluks.

It was also decided by the sub-committee to notify the deputy commissioners for ground truthing in 83 taluks.

“In total, 134 taluks have been instructed to submit the report within a week after completion of ground truthing,” the statement said.

The sub-committee has decided to allot ₹20 crore to the Animal Husbandry Department to distribute fodder-sowing seed kits to farmers in the coming days.

Also Read: Mandya farmer groups to file counter-plea against CWMA order

All-party delegation on Cauvery to meet PM

Karnataka is yet to get an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an all-party discussion on the contentious issue of sharing Cauvery water with Tamil Nadu, even as farmers’ associations in Mandya continued their protests.

The farmers are protesting against the state government and the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) for releasing 5,000 cusecs of water for 15 days to Tamil Nadu.

Speaking to reporters in Vijayapura on Saturday, 2 September, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that the state had written to the prime minister and Union Minister for Water Resources Gajendra Singh Shekhawat for a meeting.

“We have sought time for a meeting from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Water Resources Minister to take an all-party delegation to Delhi regarding Cauvery water and interstate water disputes,” he said.

Also Read: Karnataka all-party delegation on Cauvery awaits Modi’s appointment

Erratic rains

Speaking to reporters after the sub-committee meeting, Minister Gowda said that Karnataka has witnessed several fluctuations in rainfall in the last three months of the monsoon season.

In June, the state suffered a drastic shortage in rainfall. In July, there was excess rainfall, whereas in August, there was a deficit in the range of 60-70 percent, he said.

The minister further said, “The deficit in rainfall has severely impacted crops across Karnataka. We had to declare a complete crop holiday in some of the irrigated parts of the state.”

“In the rain-fed areas, farmers have sown crops which have not sprouted in some areas. And if they have sprouted, they have wilted away due to moisture stress in subsequent months,” the minister said.

Related: TN, K’taka upset over direction to release 5,000 cusecs of Cauvery water

73% deficit in August rains

Ever since the onset of the monsoon, Karnataka has recorded a rainfall deficit of 73 percent.

According to the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) reports, “The state has recorded a 26 percent rain deficit since the onset of the southwest monsoon. In August, the state recorded a 73 percent rain deficit.”

“Malnad and coastal regions have recorded 80 and 72 percent rain deficit, and north and south regions have recorded 71 percent rain deficit in August. In the past 48 hours, the state has received good rainfall in parts of south and north regions,” KSNDMC said.

Siddaramaiah said that the state would seek central assistance to overcome the drought. “After declaring drought, a request will be submitted to the central government for assistance to the drought-affected taluks,” he said.

Minister Gowda said that the guidelines designed by the Government of India for the declaration of drought do not conform with the times of climate change.

(With PTI inputs)