Karnataka on Monday sought drought relief aid of Rs 2,434-crore from the National Disaster Response Fund of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to compensate for the crop losses in drought-hit districts.
“The southwest monsoon has been very erratic. The prolonged dry spell in north and south interior Karnataka during August and September has resulted in huge agricultural and horticulture crop losses,” the state’s Revenue Minister R.V. Deshpande said in a letter to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, shared with reporters here.
While pegging the losses incurred due to drought situation in 100 sub-districts (taluks) in 24 of the state’s 30 districts at Rs 16,500-crore, the state has requested the central government for a relief of Rs 2,434-crore.
“A total of 26.18 lakh hectares of agricultural area and 1.94 lakh hectares of horticulture area have suffered greater than 33 per cent crop loss with an estimated loss of more than Rs 16,500-crore,” Deshpande stated in his letter.
The letter was also sent to Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.
Eleven of the 16 weeks of southwest monsoon season were largely dry, leading to soil moisture stress and crop loss, according to the state government’s estimates.
“I request you to depute an inter-ministerial central team for first-hand assessment of large scale agriculture and horticulture crop losses,” Deshpande wrote in his letter to the Union Agriculture Minister.
With depleting ground water levels, the state is supplying drinking water to 159 villages and has dug 203 private bore-wells to make drinking water available in the rural areas, and few of the urban areas facing water shortage, according to the letter.
The state also anticipates a fodder shortage in the coming days, with a total livestock of 75.31 lakh cattle and 114.35 lakh fodder dependent animals living in the 100 drought-affected sub-districts of the state, and has distributed 8.11 lakh fodder seed kits to overcome the shortage, Deshpande’s letter informed the Union Ministers.
A total of Rs 50-crore worth funds were released from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), providing Rs 50-lakh to each of the drought-hit sub-districts to carry out immediate relief measures such as augmenting existing water supply scheme, drilling new bore wells, the letter added.