The district administration and the Revenue Department can take decisions on their own and take proactive steps to implement drought-relief projects, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.

The concerns of the local community should be addressed by improving water supply schemes and completing pending repair works.

The short-term relaxation of norms for this will continue till May 31, he said while chairing a district-level drought review meeting at the Collectorate conference hall here on Saturday.

Fund would not be a problem if the local bodies concerned were committed to completing works in a time-bound manner and reaching the benefits to the people, he said.

“The District Collector and the Executive Engineer concerned of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) have been authorised to sanction Rs.20 lakh each to take up emergency drought-relief measures,” the Chief Minister said.

New order

As per the latest government order (GO), grama panchayats in the district would be allotted an advance of Rs.50,000 each to carry out possible drought-relief activities.

They would be allowed to grant ‘permissive sanctions’ and set apart own funds or Plan funds up to Rs.10 lakh for such works, he said.

As per the order, the District Collector would be empowered to take any vehicle into custody to supply drinking water to the needy and finalise the charges to be given to contract carriages used for the purpose.

The Collector would coordinate the entire drought-relief measures and take swift decisions on crucial issues, Mr. Chandy said.

The supply of quality drinking water to people will get top priority and more water supply points will be set up.

“Fast completion of repairs and giving new water supply connections will be next on the priory list, Mr. Chandy said.

“Steps will be taken to complete all pending water supply scheme works in the State. The district-level priority list can be submitted to the Water Resources Minister for immediate consideration and I too will monitor the processing of the list,” he said.

The Chief Minister asked people’s representatives to convene separate meetings on April 22 and 23 to prepare a constituency-wise priority list.

The heads of local self-governments should also be invited to the meetings, he said.

Many MLAs had complained that drought-relief measures were pending at several places due to bureaucratic apathy, he added.