Hyderabad, April 29 (IANS) With Telangana reeling under severe drought, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday asked district collectors to respond immediately if people in any village are suffering due to lack of food.
At a meeting with the district collectors to review the situation, Rao asked them to take immediate measures in case of food shortage anywhere and said the government will take up relief measures on war footing in such places.
KCR, as the leader is popularly known, directed the officers to give top priority to address the situation created by drought, heat wave, drinking water shortage and plummeting ground water. He said the officials should also assess the requirement of fodder in a particular area and take steps for its supply.
He asked the collectors to ensure that works under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) are taken up only before 10.30 a.m. and after 4.30 p.m. in view of the intense heat wave conditions in the state.
He also asked officials to ensure proper supply of medicines in towns and villages to treat cases of sun stroke. He called for making ORS packets available to people and for setting up drinking water booths in public places.
The chief minister said ex-gratia should be paid to families of those who have died of sun stroke, and directed that the rule for only paying ex-gratia if victims are below 65 years should be removed.
Noting that there is drinking water scarcity and other problems because of severe heat in the state, he said the same situation was likely to continue for the next one to one-and-half months. He asked officials to prepare an action plan to tackle the problems.
KCR directed that in areas not having water supply through pipelines, water should be supplied through tankers.
Referring to the weather forecast of 106 percent rainfall this year, he asked collectors to start planning for the kharif crop season. He suggested to the officials to regularly monitor the weather conditions and alert people.
Stating that cotton will not have a big market in the coming days and that prices will fall, KCR called for preparing farmers for alternate crops. He pointed out that at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks in Nairobi, India became party to a decision to phase out subsidies on cotton exports.
Pointing out that cotton is cultivated on 42 lakh acres in the state, he called for bringing this down to 15-20 lakh acres.
KCR asked officials to encourage farmers to go for cultivation of soyabean, maize and other crops.
The chief minister told officials that the government has launched programmes like Mission Bhageeratha and Mission Kakatiya to find a permanent solution to the problem of water shortage. He asked them to ensure speedy completion of works under the two schemes.