Having declared 156 taluks in the State as drought-affected during the rabi season, the State government has released Rs. 637 crore for tackling drought and implementing drought relief programs in the drought-hit areas. Speaking at a grievance redressal program after hearing grievances from the general public here on Tuesday, Revenue Minister and district in-charge R.V. Deshpande said that all Deputy Commissioners of the 30 districts had been allocated Rs. 5 crore each for taking up works immediately for drought relief.
The Minister said that drought relief measures were being taken up on a priority basis so as to effectively manage the situation.The Minister said that as farm activities had come to a standstill and migration to urban areas was likely to increase, works were being taken up under MGNREGA to provide employment to job card holders.
Mr. Deshpande said that the major challenge during this summer would be a shortage of fodder and drinking water particularly in rural areas and the Deputy Commissioners and the Chief Executive Officers of the Zilla Panchayats had been directed to open fodder banks in places where severe drought is reported. “They have been directed to tour the district and monitor the drought relief works so as to ensure that there are no lapses. They have also been asked to carry a register book to document the technical problems faced,” he said. He said that the Central team that toured the State too had felt the severity of the drought and according to the members of the team; the State was facing one of the worst droughts. Mr. Deshpande said that in the past 18 years, the State was affected by drought 15 times. While in the kharif season, 100 taluks were affected in the rabi season, it had gone up to 156 taluks in rabi, he said.
Of the Rs. 905 crore (against a demand of Rs. 2,434 crores from the State) sanctioned by the Centre for drought relief works, Rs. 443 crores had been released and the balance was expected to be released soon, he said. Minister for Municipal Administration C.S. Shivalli, MP Pralhad Joshi, MLA Amrut Desai, Deputy Commissioner Deepa Cholan, Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer B.C. Sateesh and others were present.