The Congress has dubbed the current drought being faced by Karnataka as its worst in more than four decades and called the BJP government "irresponsible" indulging in "groupism and power struggle" over the past nine months.
Initiating a debate in the Legislative Assembly on drought and drinking water issues, Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah said as of July 16 this year, Karnataka should have received 336 mm of rain, but it got only 191 mm.
"Rainfall deficit is more than 43 per cent and 90 per cent of the crops have been damaged", he said. "But in the past nine months, there has been a vertical split in the ruling party and they have been fighting for power. It's an irresponsible government".
He said when a central team visited the State in May to assess severity of the drought, there wasn't even a single minister or official available to brief them.
Siddaramaiah said farmers in the State are in distress, adding, if there isn't sufficient rainfall by this month-end, the situation in rural areas would be "unimaginable". He said the people from rural areas are migrating to other areas seeking employment while there was also a shortage of fodder.
Water tanks have dried up in many parts of the State, and water levels in reservoirs have fallen sharply, he said.
The government itself has declared 123 talukas in 24 districts as drought-hit, he pointed out. "It's the worst drought since the year 1971", Siddaramaiah said.