With no increase in rainfall this monsoon, the state government on Wednesday added six more talukas, spread over three districts, to its list of “scarcity-hit”, taking the total number of such districts to 16. Last week, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had declared all the 10 talukas of Kutch district as scarcity-hit after it received just 26 per cent of its annual rainfall.
The decision to add six more talukas in the category of “scarcity-hit” was taken here on Wednesday during the first meeting of a sub-committee of ministers formed to review availability of water in the state in the wake of deficient rainfall.
“There 16 talukas have received less than 125 mm rainfall this monsoon. They include the entire Kutch district, consisting of 10 talukas, four talukas of Banaskantha — which include Tharad, Vav and Kankrej —Chanasma taluka in Patan and Mandal taluka in Ahmedabad district. We will be starting work related to scarcity from October 1,” said Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel who chaired the first meeting of the cabinet sub-committee.
Among the villages declared “scarcity-hit”, 893 are in Kutch, 103 in Banaskantha, 60 in Patan and 37 in Ahmedabad.
While Kutch on an average received less than 111 mm rainfall this monsoon, which is nearing its withdrawal, the other scarcity-hit talukas have received less than 125 mm rainfall, the minister added.
Lakhpat taluka with only 12 mm rainfall (3.4%) has recorded the lowest rainfall in Kutch district. Among the “scarcity-hit” talukas in Banaskantha district, Vav 30 mm (5.56%), Kankrej 115 mm (22%) and Tharad 116 mm (26%) received scanty rainfall this season. Similarly, Chanasma taluka of Patan district received 103 mm (20%), while Mandal taluka of Ahmedabad district received 113 mm (19%) rainfall.
As Kutch struggles for water, farmers in the district have sown 2.87 lakh hectares of kharif crop this season. “We are in the process of filling the Tapar dam with Narmada water… Steps are being taken to ensure that Narmada water being released to save the kharif crop is not stolen enroute. The chief minister had yesterday (Tuesday) drawn the attention of both the water supply and the home departments regarding the issue and both these departments will begin work at the local level to ensure that water is not stolen,” Patel added.
Apart from the revenue minister, the cabinet sub-committee comprises Agriculture Minister R C Faldu, Labour and Employment Minister Dilipkumar Thakore, Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava and Water Supply Minister Kunvarji Bavaliya. It will meet every Wednesday to review the scarcity situation in the state. Patel said that similar committees have also been formed at the district level where the district collector, MLAs, MPs, and representatives of gaushalas have been included as members.
“The issue of making water available for drinking and irrigation was taken up in the meeting today. Among the first decisions taken by the committee under my chairmanship has been to provide grass (fodder) at Rs 2 per kilogram to all those having milch animals in the areas that have been declared as scarcity-hit,” Patel added.
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