Prepare weekly action plans on drought, minister tells states

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New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Under attack for the alleged absence of an effective drought management plan at the national level, the Centre on Wednesday urged governments of states in grip of drought to periodically review water shortage and prepare action plans on weekly basis.

“I urge the affected states to take immediate steps to fight drought conditions and review the situation on a weekly basis,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told reporters here.

He said the state plans should specifically aim to tide over challenges like shortage/scarcity of drinking water, construction of farm ponds, adoption of micro irrigation projects and diversification to crops using less water.

Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently reviewed the drought and water scarcity situations with the chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.

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“The states should use innovation and technologies to address the challenge of water conservation and water security,” the minister said, adding that the states should also promote water conservation and storage practices and rejuvenate overground water bodies.

Other strategies may include desilting of irrigation tanks, rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge, watershed development and maintenance of check dams and prevention of water leaks in distribution networks, the minister said.

Singh said both short- and long-term steps will be taken by the Centre and the states to tackle water scarcity and local self-government bodies will be involved.

Analysis and use of soil health cards for mapping of regions and scientific advice for crops will also be undertaken, he said.



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