With Uttar Pradesh hit by a severe drought, its Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav today sought nearly Rs 11,000 crore from the Centre as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in the state and directed immediate assistance.
Days after rejecting the Centre’s offer for a water train for Bundelkhand, Yadav sought financial assistance to buy
10,000 tankers to carry water to villages of parched region and other drought-hit districts of Uttar Pradesh.
“The Centre and the state have to work together…farmers have faced the onslaught of both hail storm and drought…we want to increase the number of tankers to carry water to villagers,” Yadav told reporters after the hour-long meeting with the Prime Minister in New Delhi.
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) May 7, 2016
Under various heads, Yadav demanded nearly 11,000 crore from the Centre for drought relief. Asked why the state government had rejected offer to send water train to Bundelkhand, he said there is water in Bundelkhand but his government needs means to carry it to villages. “Can a train carry water to villages,” he questioned.
At the meeting, Modi said the Centre and states have to work together to mitigate the problems faced by the people due to the drought, a PMO statement said. Yadav apprised Modi of the efforts undertaken for mitigation of problems faced by people because of drought conditions, it said.
It was noted that the state has submitted a memorandum two days back for assistance for the Rabi 2015-16 season and the Prime Minister directed that the process be completed, and assistance be provided without delay, it said. The state shared the action plan for revival and restoration of 78,000 water-bodies including tanks, ponds, and farm ponds; one lakh new water-bodies and recharge structures.
This is to be achieved by utilizing funds available in schemes such as MNREGA and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, the statement said. The meeting was told that an amount of Rs 934.32 crore has been released to the state under the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), after adjustments of the state balances.
This is in addition to Rs 506.25 crore released as central share of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for 2015-16 to the state. A further amount of Rs. 265.87 crore has been released as first instalment of SDRF for 2016-17.
The Prime Minister later tweeted: “Had a productive meeting with UP CM @yadavakhilesh on the drought situation in various parts of UP.”
He said the various drought mitigation measures undertaken in the state were discussed extensively in the meeting.
“CM @yadavakhilesh & I discussed the need to effectively utilise the period before monsoon for water recharge and conservation efforts,” Modi added in another tweet.
“Usage of latest technology & community participation, particularly of our Nari Shakti can play a key role in effective drought management,” he said.
The PMO statement said the meeting ended with a resolve on the part of the Centre and the state to work together. A statement from the Uttar Pradesh government said Yadav demanded funds to complete potable water schemes, allocation of pending amount from the 2015 memorandum submitted to the Centre for drought and hail storm relief and money to buy 10,000 water tankers.
Yadav also demanded enhancing work under MNREGA to 200 mandays in Bundelkhand and Vindhychal regions and 15 mandays in other districts of UP. He also demanded enhancing daily wages under MNRGEA to Rs 300 from the present Rs 250 in Bundelkhand.
At the meeting, the Prime Minister pitched for focus on medium and long term solutions for drought-proofing, the PMO statement said.
Modi stressed on the use of technologies like remote sensing and satellite imaging for planning of water conservation and recharge structures.
“The need to change cropping patterns based on scientific advice, use of drip and sprinkler irrigation for increasing water use efficiency, community participation, especially women, for better water management, was stressed,” the PMO said.
The Prime Minister also called for treated urban waste water to be used for farming in the adjoining areas. He mentioned the need to monitor delivery of water through tankers in the affected areas, using technology such as GPS.
The meeting also discussed how best the period before the upcoming monsoon can be utilized for water conservation and recharge efforts. This includes efforts at desilting, check dams, recharging of rivers and other water storage mechanisms.
Yadav apprised Modi of efforts undertaken for mitigation of problems faced by people because of drought conditions.
These include provision of drinking water, food to the needy in Bundelkhand, employment, water and fodder for cattle, and efforts for long and medium term solutions.
He said the state has undertaken preparatory steps to implement the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in right earnest.
The NITI Aayog also outlined the steps taken already for the release of funds under the Bundelkhand package.
The Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister for this meeting, which he said was a welcome development, given the acute problems being faced by people on account of water shortage, especially in the Bundelkhand region, the PMO said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines