State govt ‘fully prepared’ to face crisis

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on April 27, 2016

Dr Rajkumar Khatri, Principal Secretary (Disaster Management), Revenue Department

Interview with Dr Rajkumar Khatri, Principal Secretary (Disaster Management), Revenue Department

How prepared is the State government to tackle the drought?

We are fully prepared. The drought is severe in northern Karnataka. The southern region received some rains during the retreating monsoon. As the rabi season rains failed, the State government declared 12 districts and 62 taluks as drought-affected in the northern and eastern parts as drought-affected. In the south, Kolar, Chikkaballapur and Hassan saw some water shortage. Initially, we handled it by operating water tankers to 853 villages and 401 wards in the urban areas. The bottomline: we have prepared well.

What relief works have been undertaken?

Relief works are being taken up in three areas. First, drinking water for people and animals. We are energising rural water supply schemes that have been completed.

In an emergency, Deputy Commissioners and Zilla Panchyat CEOs have been granted powers to supply water through tankers in both urban and rural areas.

Under the MNREGA rural employment scheme, we have taken up community works; so far, the Central government has released ₹800 crore. We have taken up work on desilting tanks and canals, widening of canals and rejuvenation of rivers.

Finally, we have created enough fodder banks in the State and have also opened camps or goshalas next to them. Right now, 90 goshalas are open.The State government is also giving 5 kg of rice and one litre of edible oil though the PDS; mid-day meals for schoolchildren have been extended during the holidays .

What help has the Centre extended to the State?

When the kharif crop and the regular monsoon failed, we sought help. We were given ₹1,540 crore. This was given to farmers as food subsidy. We have compensated them to the extent of ₹6,800 per hectare for unirrigated and ₹13,500 for irrigated land. In all, 31 lakh farmers have benefited. When the rabi crop failed in 12 districts of northern Karnataka, we again sought help. Through the NDRF, ₹723 crore relief was announced, but the amount is yet to reach us.

Published on April 27, 2016
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