Karnataka seeks drought aid from central government

Bangalore, Dec 26: Karnataka Monday sought Rs.1,719 crore from the central government toward drought relief to the affected people and farmers in the state’s 10 drought-hit districts, especially Tumkur.

“We have sought Rs.1,719 crore from the central government for relief works in the 10 drought-hit districts across the state where crops valued at crores of rupees were damaged due to scanty rainfall this year,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters here.

The state government submitted a report on crop losses and damage to farming to the visiting two-member central drought committee, which toured the drought-hit districts in southern, central and northern regions of the state from Dec 23-25.

“The central team has also been apprised of the crop loss, depletion of groundwater level and shortage of fodder and drinking water in the drought-hit areas,” Siddaramaiah said after chairing a meeting with the central team comprising agriculture ministry director C.K. Choudary and joint director R.B. Sinha.

Tumkur district was the worst hit as the total loss due to severe drought in nine of 10 taluks (sub-divisions) has been estimated to be Rs.927 crore, with horticultural produce accounting for Rs.547 crore.

“Relief will be sanctioned according to the central government guidelines. We will submit a report to the high level committee headed by union Agriculture Minister (Sharad Pawar) on the huge loss incurred due to drought in 98 taluks (local bodies) out of 176 taluks across the state,” Sinha said.

Revenue Minister V. Sreenivasa Prasad, Animal Husbandry Minister T.B. Jayachandra and Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy and senior officials of their departments participated in the meeting with the central team.

IANS