A 10-member Central team will undertake a four-day visit to Tamil Nadu to assess drought conditions in the State, from Monday.

The team, led by Pravesh Sharma, an Additional Secretary-level officer in the Union Agriculture Ministry, will have officials from other Central departments, including Water Resources and Meteorology. It will be divided into two groups, one commencing the visit from Tiruchi and another from Madurai.

On May 9, the team is scheduled to hold a wrap-up meeting with Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and senior government officers, says a top official. The Central team’s visit is in response to a drought memorandum submitted by the State government recently, demanding about Rs 19,665 crore as compensation for the losses suffered by the State on account of drought.

Already, the State government has formulated two relief packages, one for the Cauvery delta districts and the other for non-delta districts. The package for the delta envisaged a host of measures, costing around Rs. 2,144 crore and in the case of the non-delta areas, its estimated cost was Rs. 1,755 crore. Among the important components of the drought memorandum were the compensation for loss of agricultural production to the tune of around Rs. 9,286 crore and compensation to the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation – Rs. 2,661 crore and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee works – Rs. 2,424.5 crore.

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