Double whammy: Drought or rain, it’s only loss for farmers in Karnataka

Agriculture Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy said the government is aware of crop loss due to heavy rain.
An estimate of crop loss on 46.11 lakh hectares of agricultural land, and 2.06 lakh hectares of horticulture land was drawn up.
An estimate of crop loss on 46.11 lakh hectares of agricultural land, and 2.06 lakh hectares of horticulture land was drawn up.

BENGALURU: On the one hand, farmers in Karnataka are facing distress due to severe drought, and on the other, sudden thundershowers are bringing fear of losing standing crops and death of cattle due to lightning.

Since the last week of April, heavy rain has been reported in many parts of the state, damaging crops. Farmers who depend on agriculture and horticulture in Chamarajanagar, Mandya, Mysuru, Haveri and Kalaburagi have lost banana, onion, tomato and other crops.

Srinivas Reddy, former director, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre, said summer crops have been damaged. Sowing would have done by January or February but there was no rain this year. “In areas where land is irrigated or is dependent on borewells, farmers took up summer crops. In a few places, unfortunately, borewells too dried up and farmers had paid for supply of water from other sources. Such crops were also damaged,” he said.

According to Reddy, horticulture crops along with paddy and maize were damaged. “Horticulture crops which were ready for harvest were damaged. Due to their weight and heavy wind, plants collapse and nothing can be done for such crops,” he said.

Agriculture Minister N Cheluvarayaswamy said the government is aware of crop loss due to heavy rain. “For any loss due to natural disaster, the government will pay compensation. CM Siddaramaiah has already directed officials to take care of any losses. The respective tahsildars will take it up, and funds are with deputy commissioners,” he said.

A senior official from the revenue department said they are compiling losses and in a day or two, they will get the real picture. Apart from crop loss, farmers are also in distress as cattle have died in many places due to lightning. Recently, 50 goats and sheep and their shepherd died after being struck by lightning at a village near Hoskote. On Sunday, 20 sheep were killed in Chikkanayakanahalli of Tumkuru district.

On Friday, 14 sheep died in Chamarajanagar. Compensation will be paid to these farmers. After the Southwest and Northeast monsoons failed last year, the State government declared 223 taluks drought-hit, and had sought Rs 18,177 crore in financial assistance for drought relief. An estimate of crop loss on 46.11 lakh hectares of agricultural land, and 2.06 lakh hectares of horticulture land was drawn up. Recently, Revenue Minister Krishna Byregowda said the State government had paid drought compensation to over 32.12 lakh farmers. Officials are verifying documents of over two lakh farmers, and each has been given Rs 4,000.

Revenue department sources said they have also decided to compensate 1.63 lakh farmers whose lands were not registered under the compensation list. “Besides, there are 16 lakh farmers who have small landholdings, and the government decided to pay them compensation of Rs 3,000,” sources said.

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