Karnataka monsoon: CM reviews rain preparedness, asks officials to take precautionary measures

The CM suspended three officials connected to Bhogadi Town Panchayat where a person died from consuming contaminated water

BySouth First Desk

Published May 24, 2024 | 8:44 AMUpdatedMay 24, 2024 | 8:44 AM

Monsoon preparedness in Karnataka

With Karnataka expecting above-normal monsoon rains, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday, 23 May, directed district administrations to take necessary precautionary measures to tackle the situation arising due to heavy rains, and asked them to ensure preparedness for sowing and other agricultural activities to be taken up by farmers.

The CM and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar held a meeting through video conferencing with Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and CEOs of Zilla Panchayats of all districts to review the monsoon preparations besides the drought relief activities so far.

“Pre-monsoon showers in May have been above normal, at some places, it is 40 percent and in some, it is 50 or 60 percent, also sowing has begun in some districts. According to the weather forecast by the Met Department, the monsoon rains will be above normal this time. There are chances of increased rainfall in some places,” Siddaramaiah said.

Related: Drinking water samples to be tested across Karnataka to prevent contamination: DK Shivakumar

Warning to district-level officers

Addressing reporters after the video conferencing, he said in the wake of flooding caused by rains the district administrations should be prepared to cope with the situation by taking all the necessary measures.

Officials have been instructed to take up pre-monsoon preparations like dredging, and removal of obstructions for the flow of water to tanks, rivers and other water bodies, the CM said adding all precautionary measures should be taken up at places prone to flooding.

As the sowing season commences, authorities have been asked to ensure that there is no shortage in the supply of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides across the state. Regular kharif sowing will start from June across the state in about 80 lakh hectares.

“District-level officials have been warned that they will be held responsible in case of any lapses or negligence, and appropriate action will be taken against them,” he added.

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Drought relief to affected farmers

Regarding the drought relief to affected farmers, Siddaramaiah said his government has provided ₹2,000 each to about 34 lakh farmers, and the ₹3,454 crore National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) funds from the Centre has also been distributed to the peasants.

“Instructions have been given to Deputy Commissioners of all the districts that if there are any issues in the distribution of relief with regard to verification in some places, it has to be resolved and the process should be completed soon.”

Karnataka has declared 223 out of 240 taluks as drought-hit and 196 of them have been categorised as severely affected.

Cholera cases due to contaminated water

Amid reports of Cholera cases due to consumption of contaminated water in Mysuru, the CM said directions have been given to the DCs across the state to ensure supply of clean drinking water, and to supply water after testing.

“At two places in Mysuru, there are reports of Cholera, one in my own constituency’s (Varuna) Tagadur, there has not been any death there. But in neighbouring Chamundeshwari segment’s K Salundi village, one person has died due to cholera. Our district in-charge Minister HC Mahadevappa has visited the village and I also spoke to officials. Forty people fell ill and they were provided treatment… there is no danger to life,” he said.

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Blaming the officials for the water contamination, CM Siddaramaiah suspended three officials connected to Bhogadi Town Panchayat. After visiting the victim’s family in Mysuru, Siddaramaiah told reporters: “Because of the mistake of officials, the people here have drank contaminated water and complained about cholera. A 22-year-old youngster, Kantharaju, died in this incident.”

“In his family, he did not have a father and has an elder brother. I have announced ₹5 lakh ex-gratia to the victim’s family. As per the reports, he died because of consuming contaminated water,” the chief minister said, offering condolences to the victim’s family.

“We have suspended Bogadi Town Panchayat’s Chief Officer, Executive Officer and Assistant Engineer over this incident. We have also directed them to ensure that such incidents do not repeat in future,” he added.

Around ₹826 crore is available with DCs and Tahsildars in the state, and there should not be any problem with supplying drinking water and fodder for cattle, he said, adding that, “if necessary new borewells should be dug.”

(Edited by Neena with PTI inputs)