Kalaburagi district staring at worst-ever drought

By TheHindu on 22 Nov 2017 | read

As each day passes without any sign of rain, the possibility of one of the worst droughts in recent history is staring at Kalaburagi district. It is pointing not only to yet another agrarian crisis but also a severe shortage of drinking water in rural areas.

As per the latest information available with the Agriculture Department, the rainfall deficit till now is 49 per cent and against the normal average rainfall of 229.5 mm, the district recorded only 116 mm.

Due to the lack of widespread rain in taluks, farmers’ hopes of taking up large-scale sowing of red gram are diminishing fast and against the targeted area of 3.60 lakh hectares (ha), sowing has been completed only on 1.49 lakh ha.

Most of the sown crop is withering or is suffering from stunted growth due to moisture stress.

The situation is some what better in Chincholi, Sedam, Chitapur and parts of Kalaburagi taluks. The condition in Jewargi, Afzalpur and Aland taluks is precarious. While only 15 per cent of targeted area has been covered in Afzalpur, it was 16 per cent in Aland and Kalaburagi and 22 per cent in Jewargi. While 96 per cent of the targeted area was covered in Chincholi, 93 per cent was covered in Sedam and 71 per cent in Chitapur.

Officials in the Agriculture Department told The Hindu in Kalaburagi city on Tuesday that if it did not rain immediately, the standing crops might not survive.

Also, due to lack of rain and falling groundwater levels, villages which are dependent on groundwater sources to meet their drinking water requirements have started feeling the pinch.

The number of complaints from villages on drinking water shortage is raising. The Kalaburagi Zilla Panchayat is supplying drinking water through tankers in villages coming under 25 gram panchayats of the 264 gram panchayats in the district. This figure is likely to increase in the days to come if there is no rain in the coming days.

The situation is very serious in Aland taluk, where groundwater levels have come down drastically. The highest number of villages which are being provided drinking water through tankers are in this taluk.

The situation is equally bad in Jewargi and parts of Afzalpur taluk.

if it does not rain immediately, the standing crops may not survive, say officials