Not just water,fodder shortage too is looming large over Gujarat state where parts of 10 districts have been declared scarcity and partially scarcity affected.
Total 3919 villages in Saurashtra-Kutch,North and Central Gujarat have been declared scarcity and partially scarcity hit following crop failure,including fodder. Neither with farmers nor with government,much of fodder quantum is now available.
While there has been no estimate on how much fodder will be required before official onset of monsoon around June 15,at present the state government in its forest depot has stock of 2.14 lakh kg of fodder,which is quite an insignificant quantum when compared to what the government was required to distribute in past drought period.
The Revenue department had distributed 78 lakh kg of fodder just in 1.5 months during August 10,2012 to September 30,2012,when the drought was declared. In the 1985-86 drought,some 5 crore kg of fodder was required,said Poonamchand Parmar,Relief Commissioner. This time,we have 2.14 lakh kg of fodder in the forest depot. Requirement will depend on how the situation will play out in next two months, he said.
Keeping in view the fact that cattle owners are out of fodder resources,the government had announced to establish depot for fodder distribution at a token rate of Rs 2 per kg in affected areas. Collectorates have been given orders to start depots as and when the requirement arises,Parmar added. To meet the impending shortage,the Gujarat government is inviting tenders from other states,including Maharashtra,Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Parmar added,We also have the transport system in place. The department is positive on maintaining the supply by sourcing the fodder from other states. The cards issued to the farmers in August are being considered valid this time again to get the fodder at a token rate.
The Revenue Department,along with the Agriculture and the Irrigation Department,had announced two schemes too meet the increasing demands of fodder in affected villages in August,when for the first time the drought was declared in the last financial year. Farmers were given the fodder seeds and NGOs were invited for grass cultivation projects along the lines of Narmada canal. Both the schemes have again been implemented from March 26,when the state government announced scarcity due to crop failure.
Farmers in large numbers have availed the scheme and grass was cultivated on some 5 lakh acres. This should still be available with the farmers, said Parmar. But not much cultivation has been done so far near the Narmada canal area, he added.