The Inter-ministerial Central team for assessment of drought has started touring Tamil Nadu to assess the situation.
Earlier, it called on Chief minister O Panneerselvam at Secretariat. The team was headed by Vasudha Mishra, Managing Director, National Co-operative Development Corporation, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.
The Chief Minister informed that he had written to the Prime Minister on 16.1.2017, enclosing a detailed Memorandum on the Drought situation in Tamil Nadu and also met the Prime Minister personally on 19.1.2017.
The Chief Minster pointed out that Tamil Nadu relies mainly on the North-East monsoon in the months of October to December for its rainfall.
The State received only 168.3 mm of rainfall during the North-East monsoon as against the normal rainfall of 440.4 mm – a deficit of 62%. Earlier even in the South-West monsoon a deficit of 20% was recorded. All the 32 Districts have received deficit rainfall and the deficit ranges from 35% to 81%.
The drought situation in Tamil Nadu has worsened by the non-release of Cauvery water by Karnataka in accordance with the Tribunal order.
The Chief Minster pointed out that a detailed assessment of the drought conditions was carried out based on the guidelines contained in the Manual for Drought Management, 2016. Out of 16,682 Revenue villages in the State, 13,305 villages have been identified as Drought affected. In 87% of the area, the extent of damage is estimated to be more than 50%.
The drought is ‘severe’ in a large majority of villages. The situation is likely to worsen in the ensuing months. The State has been declared as drought affected on 10.1.2017.
The Chief Minster pointed out that the water storage position in all the reservoirs is at a critical level. In 15 major irrigation reservoirs in the State, the water available as on 31.12.2016 is only 13%. The combined storage in the 4 drinking water reservoirs of Chennai City is only 1.347 TMC feet as on 21.1.2017 as compared to 9.503 TMC feet in 2016.
Funds are needed for providing relief to the farmers for crop damage, Drinking water supply and ensuring adequate fodder and water needs for live stock. Employment generation programmes have to be taken up. Water and feed have to be provided for wildlife.
The Chief Minster requested the team to tour the State extensively and see for themselves the severity of the situation and the extent of losses.
The Chief Minster stated that the officers of the State Government have been directed to accompany the team and provide all necessary assistance. He that the team should also keep in view the fact that the State was badly affected by VARDAH cyclone in December, 2016.
The Central Team will visit all parts of the State and return to Chennai.