Situation bad in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan

Ahead of the meeting of the Empowered Group of Ministers on Drought, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the conditions in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan.

As head of the EGoM, Mr. Pawar, accompanied by Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, visited some of these States last week.

“I have briefed the Prime Minister about the visits. I am sending him the details,’’ he told journalists after the meeting.

Although there was rain in some places in the last few days, the situation was still bad, he said, in parts of Karnataka, Marathwada and central parts of Maharashtra, Saurashtra and Kutch region of Gujarat and in western Rajasthan.

The government has asked these States to give priority to provision of drinking water and making fodder available for livestock.

Affected States have been asked to transport water from available sources. For this, the Centre has agreed in principle to share the burden.

On the progress of monsoon, he said the India Meteorological Department had informed him that in August there would be rain but not much. In their assessment the situation would improve, he added.

Asked whether sugar exports would be banned, he said he saw no need to do it now, as the international prices were ruling lower than domestic prices.

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