Bengaluru: The expectation of moderately good rain after a decent southwest monsoon had encouraged farmers to sow more rabi crops in Karnataka, but with at least 20 more talukas likely to be included in the list of drought-hit areas, the farmers maybe heading for uncertain times.

Almost 50% deficient rainfall during the northeast monsoon has affected 120 out of the 176 talukas, or administrative units in Karnataka. Government officials said that though the southwest monsoon was classified as normal, the spread was poor, leaving several districts under water, while most others recorded poor rainfall. Almost 70% of the state’s agriculture depends on monsoon rain, with little irrigation infrastructure.

Gangaram Baderiya, principal secretary of the state’s revenue department, which assesses drought impact, said that the total drought-affected talukas will be finalized by the end of December. The kharif season in Karnataka depends on the southwest monsoon, while the rabi season depends on the northeast monsoon.

According to data by Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre, till 9 December, 86 of the 176 talukas received deficient rainfall during the southwest monsoon, or kharif season, while 162 talukas received deficient rain in the northeast cycle, or rabi season.

What adds to the farmers’ woes is that the much-hyped 49,000 crore farm loan waiver announced by the H.D. Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July, is yet to be implemented fully.

The development in Karnataka comes at a time when opposition parties are mobilizing protests across the country to corner the Bharatiya Janata Party-led centre on farmers’ woes in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

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