Karnataka Facing Worst Drought In Decades: Deputy CM DK Shivakumar

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar also said the administration has on its part made efforts to control the water ‘mafia’, and provide water by taking it from private borewells.

Karnataka Deputy CM D K Shivakumar. | Photo: PTI

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar on Monday expressed concern over the acute water shortage, saying the state has not witnessed such crisis in the past three-four decades.

He also said the next two months are crucial for the state amid the persistent drought conditions.

Shivakumar said the government is making all efforts to manage the crisis and supply water to the people, as per PTI report.

He as per the report also said the steps have been taken to control the water "mafia" in the city.

"In the last 30-40 years we had not seen such drought; though there was drought earlier we had never declared such a large number of taluks as drought-affected," Shivakumar was quoted as saying.

Shivakumar, also in-charge of Bengaluru development, said wherever Cauvery river water has to be supplied in the city, it is being done, but out of 13,900-odd borewells in Bengaluru, about 6,900 have become defunct.

"So to control the situation, we have arranged for tankers to supply water. Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) are making all efforts in this regard," he was quoted as saying.

The report stated that the Karnataka has declared drought in 223 out of 240 taluks, out of which 196 are categorised as severely drought affected.

Shivakumar also targeted the opposition saying the parties including BJP-JD(S) were trying to indulge in politics over the issue.

He also said the administration has on its part made efforts to control the water "mafia", and provide water by taking it from private borewells, the report mentioned.

He also said the rates have been fixed based on distance travelled by the water tankers.

"A separate online system has been brought in for this and officials have been appointed to oversee this," he was quoted as saying.

He also stated the next two months are "very much important" for the state.

Shivakumar, who is also the Water Resources Minister, said priority is to ensure that there is no wastage of water.

"(By implementing) Cauvery fifth stage (project) -- we will make all efforts to provide Cauvery water to 110 villages (around Bengaluru) at the earliest by May last week," he was quoted as saying.

Shivakumar said to control the water "mafia", more than 1,500 private water tankers have registered so far and time has been extended for others also to register till March 15.

He said the police, Regional Transport Office (RTO), BBMP and BWSSB will monitor it and there will be a board with registration number on tankers.

"Operating illegally and charging exorbitantly Rs 5,000 or 6,000 (per tanker of water), such things are going on. To control, its price has been fixed based on the distance travelled," he was quoted as saying.

He said in Bengaluru, Ramanagara, Magadi, Doddaballapura, Hoskote and surrounding areas, there are irrigation borewells.

He also stated "we have taken a count of them, to draw water from there if an emergency situation arises."