Karnataka faces worst drought in 42 years

Karnataka faces worst drought in 42 years

Bangalore: Karnataka, facing its worst rainfall in 42 years this monsoon season, has sought Rs2,000 crore in drought assistance from the Centre to mitigate the situation.

Of the 30 districts in Karnataka, 12 recorded a rainfall deficit of 60-99% and another 16 faced a 20-59% shortfall, according to the report. Rainfall deficit or surplus is measured based on historical average rainfall data for the period.

Monsoon rains typically begin in early June every year but were delayed this year. The season lasts till about the end of August.

“It will be difficult to make up this deficit in the remaining time," KSNDMC director V.S. Prakash said.

The Karnataka chief minister’s office in a statement on Tuesday night said the kharif or summer crops in the state had failed and groundwater depletion posed serious problems.

“Fodder position has become precarious. Drinking water is being supplied through tankers in more than 700 villages and 300 wards in urban areas," it said.

The chief minister’s office also said people are migrating in search of jobs because of the poor rainfall. The state has requested the Union government to extend jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, which provides work for 100 days to poor rural families, to 200 days to prevent the migration, it added.

The state government has also requested the Centre to depute a team immediately to assess the situation in the state and release interim relief.

shamsheer.y@livemint.com

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