Hubballi: A rise in water level in some reservoirs of north Karnataka notwithstanding, a weak monsoon has forced many farmers to water their land with the help of tankers in order to prevent loss of crops for third consecutive year.
Reeling under the impact of an acute drought for two consecutive years, these farmers have no choice but cough up thousands of rupees every day for water tankers. They have delayed fresh sowing of seeds because of lack of lack of moisture in the soil. They are pinning hopes on state government's move to launch cloud seeding in catchment areas of four major rivers though experts are skeptical about the success.
Farmers of Gadag are worst affected as the district received merely 50 per cent of the normal rainfall in June. Sowing operations have been witnessed in only 40 per cent of the farm land as farmers are hesitant to resume agriculture activity due to failure of monsoon for two years. Sowing has been done only in 26 per cent of the total farm land in Dharwad. Farmers are facing a similar situation in Haveri and Bagalkot as the monsoon has been below average in Kharif season. Therefore, officials of agriculture department have launched an awareness campaign to help farmers adopt crops which are less water-intensive."I have already taken more than three lakh rupees loan from banks and suffered losses due to the drought earlier. Now, I am spending around Rs 2,000 a day to supply water through tankers to protect chilly and jowar crops in five acres. This will increase my debt burden as I have to sprinkle water to protect the crop for 15-20 days", lamented Basavaraj Basangouda, a farmer from Ron.
Meanwhile, Mr C B Balareddy, joint director (agriculture), Gadag, said the district could well be heading towards the worst situation when compared with kharif season last year. "The district has not received rainfall from onset of monsoon last month due to lack of thick clouds. The problems will mount if the situation continues for next few days. We are advising farmers to grow millets that requires hardly any moisture", added Mr Balareddy....