Bangalore, Aug 2 (IANS) The central government Thursday asked the Karnataka government to submit a revised report on the severe drought situation across the state and the funds it requires from the central government to take up additional relief works.
"We have asked the state government to submit a revised memorandum on the drought situation in the state, including losses suffered due to deficit rainfall till July 31 and funds required," Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh told reporters after Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar held a two-hour-long meeting with Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, cabinet ministers and officials here.
Pawar, who is on a tour of four drought-hit states in the country, including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan, with Ramesh and a 12-member official team since Wednesday, reviewed the drought situation in Karnataka and measures taken to tackle the crisis, as the south-west monsoon remained tardy resulting in around 33 percent rainfall deficiency across the southern state.
"The central government is ready to release Rs.700 crore immediately under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme to provide jobs to people in the drought-hit areas of the state," Ramesh said.
In addition to Rs.286 crore agreed for providing drinking water in the drought-hit districts, the central government had released Rs.334 crore for implementing the watershed development programme on war-footing to conserve water bodies and provide relief to millions of farmers affected by a deficit monsoon.
"Once we receive the revised memorandum from the state, the Empowered Group of ministers will soon decide on the quantum of additional funds to be released for providing relief to the drought-affected people in the state," Ramesh said.
"Rain deficiency in the three regions of Karnataka was 21-44 percent in the first two months of the monsoon period, with the south interior areas being the worst-affected. We have declared drought in 25 of the 30 districts across the state due to scanty rainfall in 415 hamlets and nil rainfall in 88 villages spanning 142 local bodies," an official of the state disaster monitoring committee said.