OTHER STATES

Chhattisgarh declares 97 tehsils drought-hit

Parched:Residents of Pirda village in Janjgir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh. Four tehsils in the district were declared drought-hit on Tuesday.K.R. Deepak  

The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday declared 96 of the 149 tehsils in the State as “drought-hit” owing to less than normal rainfall this year.

The decision was taken at the State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Raman Singh in Raipur on Tuesday. The Directorate of Public Relations, in a statement, said, “The State government has decided to declare 96 tehsils in 21 districts of Chhattisgarh as drought-hit after receiving inputs from all 27 district collectors about the Kharif crop yield.

‘Increase work-days’

“The State government will send a proposal to the Centre to increase the work-days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Scheme to 200 days from the current 100 days per family in the drought-hit areas.” The State Cabinet has decided that every gram panchayat should set aside one quintal of rice for needy people in the 96 tehsils.

The statement added, “Employment generation work will begin immediately in the drought-hit areas. Property tax will not be collected in the affected tehsils this year. Proposals will be sent to the Central government to resolve the drinking water problem in the State and to provide subsidy in procuring seeds and diesel in the drought-hit tehsils.”

The worst-hit

Districts whose tehsils have been declared drought hit are Rajnandgaon (9 tehsils), Bilaspur (8), Kanker (7), Balodabajara (6), Raigarh (6), Dantewada (5), Koriya (5), Bemetara (5), Mahasamund (5), Dhmatari (4), Raipur (4), Balod (4), Kabeerdham (4) and Janjgir-Champa (4), Kondagaon (4), Bijapur (4), Mungeli (3), Gariyaband (3), Durg (3), Narayanpur (2), Korba (1).

Rajndangoan, the district with the most drought-hit tehsils, is the Lok Sabha constituency of the Chief Minister’s son, Abhishek Singh.

Second big move

The announcement is said to be the second “farmer-friendly move” of Chhattisgarh’s BJP government in the last two weeks. The Raman Singh government had announced a bonus for the State’s paddy farmers on August 31. The Opposition termed the decision “an election ploy” ahead of Assembly polls next year.

The State government said that the compensation against crop loss would be paid under Rule 6-4 of the Revenue Book Circular norms after receiving the final crop report. A proposal will be forwarded to the Centre. The drought-affected farmers will be paid claims under the Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme. Land revenue taxes will also be waived in the drought-hit districts.