PM reviews drought situation in Andhra, Chhattisgarh

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New Delhi, May 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reviewed the drought situation in Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and appreciated the efforts of the state governments to mitigate the crisis.

The prime minister also directed setting up of a task force to comprehensively study the economic impact of drip irrigation in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. He said the proposed task force should take into consideration various parameters such as water saving, productivity, and savings in terms of reduced input costs in labour, fertiliser and pesticides, official sources said.

Presiding over the meeting on drought and water scarcity in Andhra Pradesh in presence of state Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, among others, the prime minister appreciated the state government’s efforts in micro-irrigation.

The meeting was informed that an amount of Rs.315.95 crore has been released to Andhra Pradesh under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) after adjustments of the state balances. This is in addition to Rs.330 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the state. A further amount of Rs.173.25 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17.

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At the meeting, Naidu narrated the state’s efforts in building check dams, reviving lift irrigation schemes and deploying mobile sprinkler units (rain guns) as part of the drought mitigation effort. The chief minister mentioned about the state’s progress in micro-irrigation and also informed that a target of 20 lakh hectares for micro-irrigation by 2022 has been set up.

The chief minister appreciated the prime minister for his initiatives of neem-coating of urea and the assistance of Rs.1,500 per tonne offered for compost made from the municipal solid waste.

The chief minister also made a brief presentation on how the Andhra government is using technology to get real-time updates on water and agriculture from the field, the source said.

The prime minister urged the NITI Aayog to study in consultation with the state that could come up with a model on how to use technology for crop insurance.

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During the day, the prime minister also chaired a high-level meeting on the drought and water scarcity situation in parts of Chhattisgarh. The state’s Chief Minister Raman Singh and other senior officials attended the meeting.

An amount of Rs.835.695 crore has been released to the state under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), after adjustments of the state balances.

On his part, Chief Minister Singh informed about the water conservation measures initiated by his government.

These include desilting of 8,055 water bodies and farm ponds, construction of 44,181 new farm ponds and construction of 9,851 groundwater recharge structures.

The drought relief measures initiated in the state include provision of drinking water and foodgrains in each village, the official source said.

The chief minister said one quintal of rice has been kept with each panchayat to ensure that no one starves in the villages. The state has also used Remote Sensing Technology to identify watersheds and plan irrigation strategies.

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The prime minister appreciated the preparatory work done by Chhattisgarh government for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. He said other states can also study this as a model, the source said.



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