The Cabinet sub-committee on disaster management has decided to recommend the state government to declare 195 taluks as drought-hit, revenue minister Krishna Byre Gowda, who heads the Cabinet sub-committee, said on Wednesday.
The list of drought-hit taluks will be released after chief minister Siddaramaiah gives his nod to the recommendations. A notification will be issued in this regard which will then be sent to the Centre.
Addressing a press conference after the Cabinet sub-committee meeting held at Vidhana Souda on Wednesday, Gowda said that the crop survey has been conducted across the state for the past one week and as per the Central guidelines, Karnataka has 161 taluks suffering from severe drought.
“Besides, in another 34 taluks, there is moderate drought and these taluks have also been included in the list even though Central government may or may not provide grants to taluks under this category. CM Siddaramaiah is likely to approve the proposal soon,” the revenue minister said.
Gowda added that preparations have already been made for the formation of a task force in each taluk. “Also, after the drought is declared, the 100 man-days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act will be increased to 150 days. This matter has already been discussed with the rural development minister.”
The revenue minister said that the district commissioners have been instructed to supply water to the required places through tankers or private borewells. “There is no acute shortage of drinking water in the state at present. ₹1 crore has already been given all Zilla Panchayat CEOs for the supply of drinking water. Money has been transferred. Also, deputy commissioners have ₹492 crore that they can use for drinking water supply CM Siddaramaiah assured that if more money is required, it will be provided,” he added.
Apart from this, Gowda said 40 taluks have been facing rain deficit, but the Centre’s guidelines prevent the state from declaring the taluks as drought-hit. “After 15 days, another round of crop survey based on satellite imagery will be suggested. If the taluks under the survey applies to the ‘Central Drought Guidelines’ then the drought declaration will be made in the second phase.”
The announcement comes after the state government called for an important meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday to take up issues plaguing the state, especially drought and development. All deputy commissioners, chief executive officers, district ministers, chief secretary, additional chief secretaries and principal secretaries took part in the meeting.
The state government had earlier identified 62 taluks to be declared as drought-hit, going by the parameters of the Centre. It has received only 526 mm of the state’s average 711 mm of rainfall from June 1 to September 4, according to Gowda. This alarming shortfall has exacerbated the drought situation, he said earlier.