The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday declared 96 tehsils from 21 districts — the state has 27 districts —drought-hit after receiving assessment reports from district collectors. The decision was taken after a meeting of the state cabinet on Tuesday, and comes after protests in various parts of the state where farmers have been demanding drought relief.
This comes 10 days after the government announced a paddy bonus for farmers costing the state exchequer Rs 2,100 crore, fulfilling a long-standing promise in its election manifesto. The Congress and farmers’ organisations across the state, however, criticised the government, saying that the move was only political, and that the government needed to hand out a paddy bonus for the entire tenure of its office as it had promised, and not just a single year.
A state government release said it would take steps to counter the crisis, including issuing instructions for round-the-clock electricity for water pumps. The government also stated they are sending a proposal to the Centre to increase the number of labour days from 100 to 200 per family under MGNREGA.
The release also said that compensation would be given once assessments are carried out, and rice would be kept aside for people in need in every gram panchayat. “A detailed report will be sent to the Central government and relief sought,” a senior official said.