Now, railways to supply fodder for livestock in drought-hit states

Fodder can be moved from surplus to deficit areas and the centre will coordinate with the railways as required, says agriculture ministry


Photo: Hemant Mishra/ Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/ Mint

New Delhi: After supplying potable water through trains in areas facing acute scarcity, the centre is now planning to enlist Indian Railways’ help to supply fodder for livestock.

Fodder can be moved from surplus to deficit areas and the centre will coordinate with the railways as required, the agriculture ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

The centre also urged states to use the Rs.292 crore under the National Livestock Mission to spruce up production and availability of fodder.

States should urgently prepare an action plan to ensure that fodder is available for animals in areas where rainfall may be deficient (starting June) and where there is a shortage, the ministry said.

The statement added that Rs.100 crore has been separately allocated under the Rashtriya Kisan Vikas Yojana for a fodder development programme. From this drought-hit areas will get an assistance of Rs.3,200 per hectare. Further, these schemes can be dovetailed with the employment guarantee scheme, the centre said.

The decisions on fodder supply through railways was taken at a meeting where the secretary of the animal husbandry department held a meeting with state government representatives.

In 2015, the second consecutive year of deficit rain, 11 states declared a drought. Successive years of poor rainfall have worsened the drinking water situation with more than 25% of rural habitations in India facing a scarcity, the agriculture ministry said earlier.

Since last month, the Indian Railways has been supplying potable water through trains to Latur town in Maharashtra. And since January, Ajmer in Rajasthan is also getting water through trains.

While states like Maharashtra have opened shelters to provide fodder and water to cattle in drought-hit Marathwada region, places like Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh have seen cattle deaths in recent months.

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