Narendra Modi reviews drought situation in Uttar Pradesh2 min read . Updated: 07 May 2016, 05:11 PM IST
Akhilesh Yadav says there is enough water in the reservoirs in the Bundelkhand region and this is being distributed to drought-hit areas
New Delhi: A day after a political bickering broke out between the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government, on whether a train should be allowed to supply potable water to the parched Bundelkhand region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav met on Saturday to discuss the drought situation.
“The Chief Minister and I discussed the need to effectively utilise the period before monsoon for water recharge and conservation efforts," Prime Minister Modi tweeted after the meeting. He added that drought mitigation efforts underway in the state were discussed and that the meeting was productive.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said that there was enough water in the reservoirs in the Bundelkhand region of the state and this is being distributed to drought-hit areas.
“I apprised the Prime Minister of the drought situation in Bundelkhand and also told him about the crop damage due to hailstorm. We have asked the centre for funds," he added.
The Uttar Pradesh government submitted a memorandum for ₹ 1261 crore of financial assistance to the centre, to compensate farmers for damage to their winter harvest. “(Have) asked for the state’s share in MGNREGA (employment guarantee scheme), drinking water, irrigation and food security schemes so that further help can be extended to needy farmers," the chief minister’s office said in a tweet after the meeting.
The prime minister stressed on the use of technologies like remote sensing and satellite imaging for planning of water conservation and recharge structures, said a release from Modi’s office. “The need to change cropping patterns based on scientific advice, use of drip and sprinkler irrigation, and fertigation for increasing water use efficiency, community participation, especially women, for better water management, was stressed," it added.
The meeting also discussed possible ways to fast track water conservation and recharge before the onset of the monsoon next week, the release from the Prime Minister’s office said.
According to the prime minister’s office, Uttar Pradesh shared an action plan for revival and restoration of 78,000 water-bodies including tanks, ponds, and farm ponds, and construct one lakh new water-bodies and recharge structures by utilising funds from the employment guarantee scheme and centre’s flagship irrigation scheme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana.
Uttar Pradesh declared a drought in 50 of its 75 districts in November last year. The situation has worsened since then, especially in the parched Bundelkhand region of the state where a scarcity of fodder and water has led to numerous cattle deaths as this report shows.
Further, the food security situation is precarious as many poor households have been left out of the national food security act which entitles 75% of state’s rural population to subsidised food.
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.
Meenal Thakur contributed to this story.