Karnataka Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda: Central drought assessment team completes review, relief expected soon

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BENGALURU: Stating that the central drought assessment team, which visited the drought-affected areas and inspected them, has responded positively to the request of the state government, Karnataka Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has expressed confidence that the drought relief funds will be released soon.

After holding a meeting with officials of the Centre’s Drought Study Team, the Minister shared the information at the press conference on Monday.

Officials of the Central Drought Study Team visited the drought-affected areas in three teams over three days and conducted an actual inspection of the crop damage. They have also discussed this with local farmers and people’s representatives. The panel has positively responded that the request (memorandum) submitted by the state government regarding the drought declaration reflects ground reality.

Therefore, the minister said that he is confident that the drought relief funds will be released soon.

“After the drought review, the central team also discussed it with us. There is huge crop damage in the state, and the farmers are suffering,” the minister said.

The officials also informed us that the state might face a shortage of drinking water in the coming days. Already, 195 taluks have been declared drought-hit. The government has time to declare drought-hit taluks in another phase until the end of October. Out of the remaining 41 taluks, DCs have been instructed to conduct crop surveys in two days in 21 taluks of 11 districts. Preparations have been made for the drought declaration in these 21 taluks. A drought declaration will be made as soon as information is available, he said.

Another request (memorandum) will be submitted to the Centre in this regard. The minister explained that he had discussed this with the Central Drought Study Team, and the team had agreed.

There is a flaw in the central government’s guidelines for drought declaration. Another letter will be written requesting the Union Home Minister and the Union Agriculture Minister to personally meet and discuss this matter and to submit a memorandum regarding the drought declaration, the minister said.

Earlier, CM Siddaramaiah himself had written a letter seeking a meeting with the Union Minister. But the meeting could not happen. It was suggested to submit the memorandum online.

“Another letter will be written seeking a personal meeting so that we can explain the drought situation in person and submit the second memorandum directly to the Union Ministers,” said the minister.

The information available to the central government about the number of small and micro farmers in the state is inaccurate. According to the information from the centre, the proportion of small and very small farmers in the state is only 46 per cent. In reality, this amount is more than 60 per cent. We are collecting some additional information to confirm this information to the centre. This information will be sent to the centre within a week, he said.

Although green fields are appearing in some drought-affected taluks, the crops are not benefiting farmers. In the memorandum, the state government referred to it as “green drought”. The central study team, which conducted drought assessments in many places, has been convinced of the ground reality through scientists. The minister informed that the central team has also agreed on the green drought.

The issues in the PM Fasal Bhima Scheme have been discussed in the Assembly as well. Several ministers also expressed their displeasure in the discussion held by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah with the district collectors and the ZP CEOs. He said that the drought study team has been requested to convince the officials of the centre that this scheme is not helping the farmers. (ANI)

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