A 10-member inter-ministerial central team (IMCT) began visiting 17 drought-hit districts across Karnataka for spot assessment of the losses incurred by farmers and the people, an official said on Saturday.
"The 10-member team, divided into three groups are on a three-day tour of the 17 drought-hit districts in the state to assess the grim situation arising out of deficit monsoon rains," a senior revenue official told IANS.
The team, led by Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare Joint Secretary Amitabh Gautam, has been split into three groups to visit the affected districts simultaneously.
The first group is visiting Ballari, Davangere, Raichur and Yadgir; second group Bagalkote, Belagavi, Dharwad, Gadag and Vijapura; and third group Chikaballapura, Chitradurga, Kolara and Tumukuru.
"The central team will meet state officials of the departments concerned on Monday in Bengaluru for discussing the drought situation in the state for the report to be submitted to the Prime Minister's Office," the official said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 10 assured a state delegation, led by Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, in New Delhi that he would send the team to assess the damage caused by drought in 17 interior and northern districts of the state.
"The delegation sought Rs 2,000 crore package for rehabilitation and rebuilding of infrastructure in the affected regions in the state from the central government," said the official.
A cabinet sub-committee assessed the losses due to drought and sent a report to the central government for relief aid in October.
State Revenue Minister R.V. Deshpande, Public Works Department Minister H.D; Revanna, Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Byre Gowda were part of the delegation.
The Chief Minister also told Modi that half the state's area faced drought due to weak monsoon.
The state has been facing drought conditions during the last 13 years. As per preliminary estimates, 15 lakh hectares of agricultural and horticultural crops have been affected, with an estimated loss of Rs 8,000 crore.
"There has been a prolonged dry spell in September, which resulted in about 50 per cent crop production loss," Deshpande said earlier.