Five out of 13 districts of Uttarakhand located in the hills will soon be declared drought-hit, a senior official said today. Almora district in Kumaon belt is the worst hit with 1,343 hectares of irrigated land and 24,000 unirrigated land affected by drought.
Other hill districts in the grip of a drought are Pithoragarh, Nainital, Rudrapur and Pauri, Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand, Shatrughna Singh, said. Efforts are underway to declare a total of 74,000 hectares of land spread over five hill districts of Uttarakhand as drought-hit, he said.
Deficit rains this season coupled with poor irrigation facilities have created drought-like situation in the hills of Uttarakhand, Singh said. Even Udhamsingh Nagar and Haridwar districts in the plains have received inadequate rain but due to better irrigation facilities the situation in these areas is not all that bad, he said.
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Singh also said that a report recommending declaration of these districts as drought-hit will soon be sent to the Centre which will then send a team for an on-the-spot assessment of affected areas. Once these districts are declared drought-hit, farmers in these areas will start getting concessions like a periodic moratorium on repayment of loan taken from cooperative banks and collection of revenue from them, the Chief Secretary added.