BANGALORE: The state government has revised the total loss due to the prevailing drought a second time to Rs 5,600 crore. The loss was first estimated at Rs 2,606 crore and later revised to Rs 4,500 crore; the revision takes into account the possible post-kharif deficit of Rs 1,100 crore.
According to official sources, a government delegation led by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda plans to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Union ministers on May 2 and 3 and submit to them memoranda and reports on the drought; it will also press for additional allocation from the National Calamity Contigency Fund (NCCF).
Around 123 taluks have already been declared as drought-hit where relief works, including providing jobs, establishing cattle sheds and fodder banks, have been initiated.
However, sources said that the pre-monsoon showers across the state provided some much-needed respite. The new showers have had a positive effect, an official maintained.
A senior official in the Revenue Department said on condition of anonymity that while the drought isn’t anything new, ground water levels have plunged to a new low, ringing the alarm bells to all. “There is an urgent need to improve sub-soil water levels before it is too late,” he added.
Referring to drought relief works, the official informed that there is no shortage of fodder in the affected areas and people are being provided with jobs under the MGNREGA and works are being implemented with vigour. “There have been no reports of people migrating to other states in search of jobs.” He added that the government has opened 48 cattle sheds in over eight districts - 12 in Chitradurga, 9 in Bijapur, 7 in Koppal, six in Chamarajanagar, three in Tumkur and one at Davanagere - and 14 fodder banks have been set up. “26,346 cattle heads are being given shelter in such sheds,” he said.
While the government released Rs 382 crore for relief works, Rs 158 crore remain unspent with deputy commissioners of various districts. The initial estimate was made after visit of a Central team to affected regions; the second estimate was made about a week ago.