Bengaluru, May 15: The Karnataka government Wednesday said it would take up cloud seeding by the end of June, amid reports forecasting deficit rainfall.

The government has already called for tenders for two years and will spend an estimated Rs 88 crore for the purpose.

"In newspapers we are seeing that in 2019 there is a possibility of deficit rainfall.

We have already taken precautionary measures regarding this- for 2019-20 and 2020-21-for two years we have decided to implement cloud seeding,"Rural Development Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said.

He said the government would award the tender in a week to 10 days.

"By June end, we will begin the cloud seeding process in the state. The tender has been called for two years together.

An expert committee had also given similar recommendation," he said.

For two years together, the estimated cost would be Rs 88 crore, he said, briefing media persons after Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's video conferencing with Deputy Commissioners of districts and CEO of Zilla Panchayats on drought in the state.

Pointing out that cloud seeding earlier used to be done by August, by which time the monsoon would have almost ended, Gowda said that to avoid it, the government decided this time to go for the exercise at the onset of the monsoon.

There will be two centres at Bengaluru and Hubballi for cloud seeding, with two aircraft, he said.

"If there is good rain in one region, the centre there can be shifted as additional centre to where there is lack of rain. It will also be based on cloud cover," he said.

Revenue Minister R V Deshpande said the government was taking steps to manage drought on a "war footing" and that he has directed all Deputy Commissioners and CEOs to tour the districts to assess the situation.

Tahsildars have also been asked to travel to villages, panchayat headquarters and urban areas to understand the ground reality and work effectively, he said.

He also termed as 'far from the truth,' Opposition leader B S Yeddyurappa's criticism of the government's management of drought and pointed out that due to the model code of conduct in force, the Chief Minister and Ministers had no powers to hold review meetings until recently, when they were permitted by the Election Commission to do so.

The ministers said the government has taken steps to provide drinking water through tankers, wherever there was shortage.

In most places there was fodder stock for 12 weeks and corrective measures were being taken in areas facing shortage.

Gowda said a total of 2,999 villages in the state faced acute drinking water shortage.

Among them in 1632 villages, 2322 tankers are being used to supply water and 1873 borewells have been taken on rent to provide water to 1367 villages.

Of the total of 6,428 urban wards, 451 wards are being provided water through tankers, he added.

"DCs have Rs 713 crore, it should be used for borewell and tanker payments.

Wherever new borewells are needed task forces have been given Rs 200 crore by RDPR department," they said, adding that call centres have been started at every taluk, district and also state level to address drinking water shortage.

Jobs were also being provided under MNREGA to stop migration of people from affected areas, they said.

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Thiruvananthapuram: Authorities in coastal areas of Kerala have been put on high alert after an intelligence report said 15 Islamic State terrorists had set off from Sri Lanka for the Lakshadweep islands on boats, police sources said.

Coastal police stations and police chiefs have been alerted about suspicious vessels. The sources said, though, such alerts are "usual practice", this time they have a specific information about the number of terrorists.

The coastal police department said it has been on alert since May 23 after the intelligence input came from Sri Lanka.

"We have been on alert since the Sri Lankan attack. We have alerted fishing vessel owners and others venturing into the sea to be cautious," a coastal police department official told PTI.

After the serial bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, Kerala was put on alert, especially after NIA investigations revealed that IS operatives had planned attacks in the state.