Memorandum given to Central team

The Kerala government has sought Rs.7,888 crore from the Centre for drought relief.

In a memorandum submitted to a Central team visiting Kerala to assess the drought situation in the State, the government said that loss from damage to agriculture crops alone would come to Rs.5,980 crore.

Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, who held discussions with the team led by Joint Secretary Narendra Bhushan at the end of its visit on Thursday, told the media that the team had agreed to consider some long-term projects for drought relief. It was convinced of the drinking water shortage in many parts of the State and loss of paddy crop in Palakkad district.

The Minister said the team had visited Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kollam, and Pathanamthitta districts and was expected to submit its report in a week. However, the team would be recommending assistance only in accordance with the Central norms in this respect.

Mr. Prakash said the assistance sought by the State included compensation for loss of electricity generation amounting to Rs.1,610 crore. However, this was not covered under the Central norms. Normally, the State may be eligible for only Rs.492 crore under the norms.

He recalled that the same team had visited Kerala in September-October when four districts were declared drought-hit. The State government had then sought Rs.1,995 crore as relief. However, only Rs.62.5 crore was sanctioned. Now, all the districts had been declared drought-hit. The drought, he said, would have its impact for three years and this had been pointed out to the team.