Kodagu flooded but Ballari, Koppal still dry

Ballari: There may be floods and mayhem in Kodagu and some other parts of the state due to a very active monsoon, but it has been so dry in Ballari, Koppal and Chitradurga since July that an agricultural drought is now looming in these districts.

While the command areas of the Tungabhadra reservoir in Ballari, Koppal and Raichur are not as badly affected, agricultural activity has been hit in the rain-fed regions, which comprise 75 per cent of the area under cultivation.  Farmers are now demanding that the government declare these districts drought-hit. Although 25 per cent of the farmers have completed sowing tur, green gram, sunflower and millet in these parts,  the crops have failed due to lack of rain, leaving the districts looking at their fourth successive drought.

Agriculture minister, N H Shivashankar Reddy, who visited Ballari district last week, had himself observed that if the dry spell continued for 10 more days, it could prove disastrous for the agriculture sector and the  government would have no choice but to declare the region drought-hit.

 “We’ll wait till August 15 before pressing the panic button,” he had said. But with this deadline having passed, Member of Parliament from Koppal, Sanganna Karadi, has  appealed to the district Deputy Commissioner to declare it  drought-hit. In a letter to the DC, Mr. Karadi  observed that the district had received 40 per cent deficit rainfall between  June and July and there had been only 35 per cent sowing in rain-fed areas. In addition, the district was short of water for drinking and fodder for cattle, he pointed out.

Meanwhile,  in Chitradurga, the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene have appealed to the state government to declare it drought-hit too and announce a special package to protect the interests of the farmers. President of the sangha, Horakerappa, said the groundwater table in all six taluks of the district had sharply fallen and farmers were having a hard time due to the failure of their crop.

Urging the government to fix a support price of Rs 10,000 per quintal of groundnut and Rs 4,000 per quintal of onion, he demanded that it take immediate steps to waive farmers loans as well. 

When contacted, a senior officer of the state Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre said the government was in the 

process of declaring the districts that had received deficient rainfall drought- hit and introducing relief measures.

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