In a high level meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao today urged the Centre to provide adequate financial help to mitigate the prevailing drought situation, water scarcity and other problems in the state. KCR urged immediate release of Rs 227 crore towards temporary relief to overcome the problems and release the rest of Rs 2352 crore, as the Centre has so far released only Rs 712 crore against Rs 3064 crore sought.
Chairing the meeting, Modi while appreciating KCR for the flagship programs, has said that he will provide necessary help to the state. The Centre is taking stock of the drought situation in the affected states The meeting with Modi went on for about an hour and half. KCR apprised the Prime Minister of his ambitious plans of Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya. He also explained that the State Government was spending a whopping Rs 4800 crore on welfare and the Centre gave to the state only Rs 253 crore towards pensions. Mahanbubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Nizamabad are worst hit by drought as there was a shortfall of 14 per cent of rains in the state, he said. Earlier, initiating the discussion, Modi said that he is holding separate meetings with Chief Ministers of the drought-affected States, to assess the specific requirements of each, and to focus attention on both immediate and long term measures.
The Centre released Rs. 712.62 crore to the State under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), after adjustments of the State balances. This is in addition to Rs 205.5 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the State. A further amount of Rs. 108 crore has been released as first installment of SDRF for 2016-17.
The Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister of the progress made in Mission Kakatiya, which aims at rejuvenation of water tanks and other water storage structures in the State. The Chief Minister shared details of the State Government’s ambitious project of Mission Bhagiratha, which aims to provide safe drinking water to rural households.
About 13.52 lakh hectares cotton, maize, soya bean and others were affected by drought which rendered loss to 21.78 lakhs of farmers in the state while 23,700 hectares were also hit including vegetables, mango, mosambi (battayi), turmeric, chilli and other crops, he said asked the centre for immediate release of funds for input subsidy.
The Prime Minister stressed on the importance of using urban waste water for irrigation in adjoining rural areas. He said that remote sensing and space technology can be used to identify blocked water channels, which can then be targeted for de-silting through public participation.
The Chief Minister also spoke of the progress made in micro-irrigation, which has so far covered 40,000 hectares in the State. In the course of the meeting, the Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister for launching the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, which he described as a very good scheme for farmers. Chandrashekar Rao also thanked the Prime Minister for the amendments to the CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) Act. He suggested that the Union Government should now evolve a strategy for effective utilization of the Fund. He also shared the State Government’s major plantation drive – Haritha Haram. The Chief Minister suggested delineation of the entire country into “crop colonies,” so that specific strategies could be evolved accordingly.
The Prime Minister appreciated the suggestion, and said that soil health cards aim to achieve the same objective. He encouraged the State to come up with a model plan. Stating that the state has received only first installment of funds towards backward areas in the state as per bifurcation Act, KCR sought the release of the rest of funds which will be used for drinking water and lakes revival schemes. The meeting ended with a resolve on the part of the Centre and the State to work together.(NSS)