In view of the severe drought in the state, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on 8 May asked for additional Rs 12,272 crore funds to develop the supply of drinking water and fodder as Prime Minister Narendra Modi assessed the current situation in the state with him in New Delhi.
The CM also requested the centre to release the relief fund to the tune of Rs 723 crore approved earlier to tide over losses incurred in the rabi season of 2015-16 crop year.
"I have updated the PM on the drought situation in detail and sought additional funds of Rs.12,272 crore," Mr Siddaramaiah told reporters after the meeting.
The PM has assured that he will "try to help as much as possible" after he meets chief ministers of all the 11 drought-hit states, he said.
Siddaramaiah informed PM Modi that the drought is severe this year. He said that crops worth Rs 15,635 crore were damaged in 27 districts out of 30 during the kharif season of 2015-16 crop year, while crop worth Rs 7,000 crore is estimated to have been affected during the rabi season because of the drought in 12 districts.
He also informed the PM about a shortage of drinking water in the state. "I have informed him that the drinking water crisis is getting worse as the water level in reservoirs has gone down to 13 per cent. Some rivers like Krishna have dried up," he said.
In a statement issued by the PMO, the Prime Minister urged the state government to give maximum attention to desilting and creating farm tanks and check dams over the next 30 to 40 days, before the onset of the monsoon.
PM Modi said the Centre and the states should work together to tackle the problem of drought. "The time has come when there should be healthy competition among states to speak of efforts in water conservation and management, the way efforts to increase Gross State Domestic Produce (GSDP) and investment are spoken about," the statement said.
PM Modi also asked NITI Aayog to develop an index to measure water conservation and management.
Demanding fair treatment in release of central relief to states, Siddaramaiah said, "Other states are given higher compensation. I have requested Modi to treat us equally as Karnataka's situation is bad. I have asked PM to be liberal in giving funds to the state."
When asked if the Prime Minister had been late in calling the meeting with drought-hit chief ministers, Siddaramaiah said, "I don't see any politics in this. This is a good development."
The centre has sanctioned drought-relief funds of Rs 1,540 crore against the demand of Rs 3,830 crore for the kharif season, while Rs 723 crore has been approved against the demand of Rs 1,417 crore for the rabi season of this year.
Highlighting both short and long term steps taken to address drinking water crisis to the PM, the Karnataka chief minister said, "Farmers have not taken second crop this year because of drought. We are preserving water for drinking water purpose."
He informed that drinking water is being supplied through 1,598 tankers to over 1,100 villages since January 2016. The state has identified additional 2,071 villages that may require drinking water through tankers.
In urban areas, drinking water is being supplied through tankers to about 500 wards.