Shocking Revelation: 195 Drought-Hit Areas Revealed – Is Your Taluk on the List?

In the past, the Cabinet sub-committee had proposed declaring 62 drought-affected taluks, along with initiating surveys in 83 taluks and re-surveying 52 others where ground-truth-finding surveys were already in progress.

BENGALURU: On Wednesday, the cabinet sub-committee on natural disasters recommended declaring 195 taluks in the state as drought-affected out of a total of 237 taluks. Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda, who heads the sub-committee, clarified that this list is not final, and additional taluks meeting the criteria based on rainfall will be considered for inclusion in the drought-affected list. Byre Gowda spoke to reporters after the meeting and stated that the sub-committee would forward its recommendation to Chief Minister Siddaramiah.

Previously, the Cabinet sub-committee had recommended declaring 62 taluks as drought-affected, while directing surveys in 83 taluks and re-surveying 52 others where ground-truth-finding surveys were ongoing. As a result of these surveys and the earlier announcement, 161 taluks met the criteria set by the Union government. Despite the remaining 34 taluks not meeting these criteria, the sub-committee contemplated adding them to the list.

“We will also submit a memorandum to the Union government,” he said, adding that a government order declaring the 195 taluks as drought-affected will be issued soon.

Furthermore, 40 other taluks are currently experiencing a partial drought-like situation but do not meet the Union government’s criteria.

“We will conduct surveys in these 40 taluks, including the use of satellite images, over the next 15 days. Based on the results, we will compile a second list of drought-affected taluks,” he explained. They have until the end of October to submit this list, which means that they will conduct several more surveys every 15 days before finalizing the list. Byre Gowda emphasized that the current list of 195 taluks is not final.

Regarding compensation, the minister noted that farmers are facing distress due to the deficit in rainfall. They are currently preparing to establish a task force in each taluk to address drinking water issues.

“Once we officially declare these taluks as drought-affected, we plan to increase the number of work days under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) from the existing 100 days of guaranteed wage employment to 150 days for people in these taluks.

He also mentioned that there is currently no shortage of fodder and funds to supply drinking water.

Byre Gowda mentioned that there are around 40 taluks in the state that have received less rainfall but do not meet the Central government’s criteria. While satellite images indicate green cover in these areas, the extent of crop growth remains uncertain. Agricultural universities and the horticulture university are being consulted to provide a comprehensive report on this matter.

Byre Gowda criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that the Central government’s criteria for classifying taluks as drought-affected are unscientific. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had written a letter to the Prime Minister about this issue, but no response had been received thus far.

“The Prime Minister has not made time to meet the Chief Minister. Due to this, farmers are facing distress as we are unable to obtain clarity,” he added.

He also pointed out that the state has experienced a 28% rainfall deficit so far, with Malnad witnessing a shocking 40% shortage. This shortage has contributed to reduced water flow in the Cauvery basin.

Hampi Utsav, originally scheduled for November, has been postponed to February 2024 due to the drought. Housing Minister BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan, who also serves as the Vijayanagara district minister, made this announcement following a meeting chaired by the Chief Minister and other ministers at Vidhana Soudha.

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