The State government will submit a revised memorandum to the Centre for financial assistance in view of the serious drought situation prevailing in the State.
The Chief Minister told a Central team visiting the State for assessing damage from drought conditions that the State was facing the worst drought in seven years. Already four districts (Idukki, Wayanad, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram) had been declared as drought-hit. The districts of Palakkad, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha was on the verge of drought and would have to be declared drought-hit if the northeast monsoon also fails.
Mr. Chandy noted that the government had submitted a memorandum to the Centre seeking Rs 1468.31 crore for drinking water supply, health care, agriculture, irrigation and animal husbandry in the four-drought hit districts last month. However, more assistance was required and memorandum in this respect would be submitted in a week.
Chief Minister told the media after the meeting that the Central team was convinced of the serious situation in the State. The State had suffered considerable losses in power generation. However, the Central norms did not allow for any compensation on this count. So, the State government had requested that the loss of irrigation opportunities and drinking water from tail race waters of power projects should be taken into account.
The State also wanted loss in milk production too to be taken into account for determining assistance. The team had rejected the State’s request that death from lightening and snake bites should be considered for compensation as it was against the Central norms. However, loss from sea erosion might be considered.
Mr. Chandy said that the State had also requested the Centre that the norms for works under NREGA should be revised allowing work for specific needs of the State to be undertaken.
The team headed by Joint Secretary Narendra Bhooshan of Union Department of Agriculture had visited the drought hit regions in Wayanad, Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts and interacted with farmers, officials and people’s representatives before calling on the Chief Minister and Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash. Principal Secretary (Revenue) T. O. Sooraj, Collector K. N. Satheesh and higher officials also participated in the discussions.