MYSURU: Drought showers miseries. Soaring vegetable prices are one of them.
With crops drying up, the supply has slackened, increasing the prices by 25-50 percent in the last couple of weeks. An increased demand for salads has also contributed to the rising prices.
Tomato which was sold for less than Rs 4 a kg last month now costs Rs 15-20 as the standing crops in parts of Panadavpura, Srirangapatna and other places have dried up with no water in irrigation canals. The prices of ladies finger have gone up from Rs 10 to Rs 30 a kg. Beetroot now costs Rs 35 a kg and carrot Rs 40. Coriander leaves (around 100 grams) is sold at Rs 25.
According to vendors, the situation will only worsen. Ashok, a vegetable vendor, said vegetables have stopped coming from Kolar, Hoskote and Ramanagaram, partly because of the demand in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
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Srinath, a farmer in Srirangapatna, said many farmers could not grow vegetables this season as the irrigation department has stopped release of water for modernisation works. It is difficult to sustain crops without water, he said.
Erratic load shedding resulting in only 2-3 hours of power supply to irrigation pump sets has also hit the farmers. Fruit dealer Babu said high temperatures have spurred the demand for watermelon, mangos and pomegranate. The soaring prices have helped farmers who have managed to sustain their crops by using water judiciously.
Acute Shortage in D’gere
Drinking water scarcity looms large over Davangere as the TV station reservoir and Kundawada reservoir are fast drying up. According to City Corporation officials, there was 6.5 metre water in the TV station reservoir and it is enough to supply for the next 30 days. “Due to the shortage of water, we release water once in 5-7 days,” they said. At the Kundawada reservoir near Shamanur, the situation is better as there is water for the next 60 days. As there was enough water in the borewells in Vidyanagar, Taralabalu Nagar and Vinayaka Extension, people have been using water to wash cars and clean roads in front of houses. People should stop using water for washing vehicles and cleaning roads, said retired teacher Basavarajappa at Vidyanagar.
Ryots Stop Watering Crops
Farmers in Sullia were forced to stop watering their arecanut, banana and coconut plantations, as open wells and water beds have almost dried up. The river Payashwini is almost dry as well. People in Sullia taluk are largely dependant upon agriculture to earn their livelihood. As per statistics from the district administration, Dakshina Kannada received 50 mm rain, in the middle of April last year. However, there is no rain till date. In order to get a good yield, crops should get enough rain during the summer. Even the open wells located in the farmers plantation have almost dried up.
Works Stalled in Madikeri
The construction of a Government Medical College building has been delayed due to scarcity of water. Though Kodagu is known to be the origin of the Cauvery river, this year the scorching sun and lack of rain has made the district dry. Water is being released once in three days. Contractors are getting water from Kushalnagar and Murnad for the college, by paying Rs 2,000 per tanker. Each tanker has a capacity of 5,000 litres. Around 30,000 litres of water are needed every day for carrying out work to develop the medical college, said Prasanna Kumar, who is the manager of the contracting unit.
Fifth Drought in C’durga?
The district will face severe drought for the fifth consecutive year if it does not get rain in the coming days. Water is being supplied through tankers to 22 villages where groundwater has totally dried up and the situation has become worrisome for the district administration. Along with this, several acres of arecanut and coconut plantations in the district were destroyed, causing irreparable losses to farmers. Among the six taluks, Molakalmuru and Challakere are the worst affected and agricultural labourers are facing hardships with MGNREGA work failing to contain migration.