New Delhi: The Karnataka government headed by H. D. Kumaraswamy on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the Centre seeking financial assistance amounting to Rs 2,434 crore under the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for drought relief measures.
During severe drought and devastating floods between July and August, the state registered a loss amounting to Rs 16,662.48 crore.
In its memorandum, the state government stated, “Karnataka has faced severe drought and devastating floods during Kharif 2018. On one hand, the parts of Malnad and coastal districts were affected by floods associated with landslides/mudflows during July-August and on the other hand, the majority of the districts in interior Karnataka are reeling under severe drought.”
“After evaluating the drought indicating parameters, prescribed by the Government of India in the Drought Management Manual-2016, the State Government has notified 100 taluks of 24 districts in the state as drought affected. The deficient rainfall and prolonged dry spell, even up to eleven out of 16 weeks of SW monsoon season, resulted in enormous crop loss. The targeted area for Kharif 2018 was 74.69 lakh hectares, the sowing was completed in 66.36 lakh hectares (89 per cent of coverage) by end of September. The field survey and ground truthing have reported 27.32 lakh ha (41 per cent of sown area) is drought affected. The estimated loss due to agriculture and horticulture crop loss is Rs.16, 662.48 crore,” the statement read.
The Karnataka government also touched upon the issue of water levels in reservoirs, saying that this year the levels are better than the previous years.
“The present levels in reservoirs are better than previous years. However, out of 3,611 minor irrigation tanks, about 53 per cent of the tanks have less or insignificant storage. Drinking water is being supplied through tankers to 159 villages, and 203 private bore-wells have been hired for drinking water purpose in rural areas.
In urban areas, 136 wards are being supplied with drinking water through tankers. About 98.26 lakh tons of dry fodder available as of now is expected to suffice for the next 16 weeks. So far, 8.11 lakh fodder seed mini-kits have been distributed to farmers with irrigation facilities to grow green fodder. If the dry spell continues, Goshalas and Fodder banks will be operated,” the document read.
The government also claimed that they have taken the required steps to ensure enough work availability under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGS).
“The Grama Rojgar Diwas is being conducted at the Gram Panchayat levels frequently to ensure the maximum enrollment. About 4.69 lakh works are being undertaken and 2.10 crore person days have drought-affected areas/ Talukas as on 22.09.2018. During this period, 6.36 lakh households have been provided employment, and the amount spent in these drought-affected Taluks is Rs. 1042.93 crores,” it said.
To ameliorate the economic condition of the farming community, especially small and marginal farmers, the state government has implemented “Crop Loan Waiver Scheme 2018.
“It is likely to bring relief to a large number of farmers. The financial implications of the loan waiver is estimated to be more than Rs. 48, 000 crore and is the biggest ever for any state in the country,” the memorandum read.
Not only that, the Karnataka government also claimed that they have passed Karnataka Debt Relief Bill 2018 in an attempt to free small and marginal farmers and weaker sections from the agrarian and debt crisis due to borrowing money from informal sources at an exorbitant rate of interest.
In his concluding statement, the Karnataka government said that it has released Rs. 100 crores under State SDRF Fund and Rs. 50 crore @Rs.50 lakh per drought-affected taluk from State Fund to take up immediate drought relief work.