142 taluks in 26 districts declared drought-hit

State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC)-Karnataka has directed lead district mangers (LDMs) to hold special meetings immediately to draw up drought action plan.

“LDMs in the affected districts have been told to convene district-level coordination committee (DLCC) meeting to assess the ground situation before taking up relief works,” K.P. Muralidharan, SLBC convenor, told Business Line.

142 taluks

Due to below normal monsoon rains this year, the State government has declared 142 taluks in 26 districts as drought-hit. Last year (2011-12) also, due to erratic rains, 123 taluks were affected.

Last week, SLBC has also issued directions to all banks including regional rural banks (RRBs), district co-operative banks to follow the guidelines issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take up relief measures in the affected districts.

As per SLBC statistics, commercial and public sector banks, regional rural banks (RRBs) and cooperative banks have a total outstanding under agriculture (farm loans) of around Rs 54,764 crore, as on March 31, 2012.

Crop loss

According to agriculture department statistics, sowing has taken place only in 39.27 lakh hectares as against a target of 74.70 lakh hectares. Crops sown in about three lakh hectares have been lost due to deficit rains.

To tide over the crisis, the State government has sought Rs 11,480-crore relief from the Centre. The formal request was made by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar when to two Union Ministers, Sharad Pawar and Jairam Ramesh, visited the State recently to assess the drought situation.

To follow up on the issue, Shettar is expected to leaving for New Delhi shortly.

Central team

The Central government is planning to send a high-level team to tour drought-hit districts between August 21 and 25 to determine the quantum of damage.

Union agriculture department team is likely to visit the most affected districts of Chamarajnagar, Chitradurga, Tumkur, Gadag, Koppal and Bijapur districts.

The team will comprise officials from the ministries of water resources, rural development, agriculture and animal husbandry and the Planning Commission.

anil.u@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 16, 2012)
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