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Severe drought across 13 taluks in Belagavi

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By uday

The Chief Secretary to the Government, who also serves as the Chairman of the Executive Committee of KSDMA, periodically assumes this role. As per the decision of the Cabinet Sub-Committee, and with the approval of the Honorable Chief Minister, it has been determined that out of the 236 taluks across 31 districts in the state, a total of 195 taluks are currently facing drought conditions. Following a thorough assessment conducted in all these taluks, it has been concluded that 161 taluks are severely affected by drought, while 34 taluks are experiencing moderate drought conditions.

Among the severely Drought affected taluks, 13 are located in the Belagavi District, namely Athani, Bailahongal, Chikkodi, Gokak, Hukkeri, Ramadurg, Raibag, Savadatti, Kittur, Nippani, Kagwad, Mudalgi, and Yaragatti.

In response to this dire situation, the Karnataka government has officially declared a state of severe drought in the 161 taluks, along with categorizing 34 taluks as experiencing moderate drought conditions. To effectively manage this crisis, the government has called upon all Deputy Commissioners to implement appropriate drought management measures within their respective districts.

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To arrive at this decision, a comprehensive survey was conducted across the state, focusing on assessing the extent of crop losses. The findings of this survey were presented to the cabinet sub-committee, which led to the government’s declaration of drought for the 161 taluks.

The government’s official statement highlighted a significant rainfall deficit in the state. Specifically, June experienced a 56 percent decrease in rainfall, while July saw a 29 percent surplus. However, August presented a major challenge with a staggering 73 percent rainfall deficit, a situation that has not been seen in the past 125 years.

According to data from the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC), the state received only 487 mm of rainfall between June 1 and August 19, which is considerably lower than the average of 635 mm for this period.

Based on the ground truthing report by the District Collector, following the criteria in the Central Government’s Drought Management Manual-2020 Drought Declaration Guidelines, a drought situation has been identified in 195 out of 236 taluks across 31 districts of the state during the monsoon season of 2023. Out of these, 161 taluks are classified as severe drought-prone and 34 taluks as moderately drought-prone. The declaration has been made with immediate effect for a period of 6 months or until further orders, whichever comes earlier.

According to the Central Government Drought Management Manual – 2020, after considering the drought declaration criteria, a drought situation was found in 195 taluks out of 236 taluks across 31 districts of the state. After conducting ground truthing in all these taluks, it was ultimately decided to seek approval from the Chief Minister and the President of the Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) to declare 161 taluks as severe drought-prone and 34 taluks as moderately drought-prone.

Recognizing the seriousness of the situation, the government has established a cabinet sub-committee to closely monitor developments. Their recommendations have led to the declaration of drought in the aforementioned 161 taluks.

In response to the crisis, the state government has issued directives to oversee private money lenders and instructed banks not to harass farmers during these trying times. The government reported a distressing statistic of 251 farmer suicides in the current year alone.

Out of the total 236 taluks in Karnataka, a total of 195 are being declared drought-hit due to insufficient rainfall during the southwest monsoon season.

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