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Tamil Nadu declares all districts drought-hit

Panneerselvam said the state will soon alert the Centre about the situation.

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The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday declared all districts of the state drought-hit following a deficit in the northeast monsoon last year. Chief Minister O Panneerselvam announced several schemes for farmers, including waiver in land tax. He confirmed 17 suicides of drought-affected farmers in the past two months and announced aid of Rs 3 lakh to each of the bereaved families.

Assessment reports have been sought from district collectors on the deaths reported in the media. “Most of the reports will be compiled by tonight and tomorrow, and further measures will be decided,” said a senior government official. On-the-spot assessments started on January 3 by high-level teams comprising cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats in all districts are in the final stages, the official added.

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Panneerselvam said the state will soon alert the Centre about the situation. “Relief assistance will be extended for crop damage of more than 33 per cent as per guidelines. A sum of Rs 5,565 will be extended to farmers per acre of paddy crop,” he said.

The government said insurance companies will extend compensation on ‘crop cutting experiment’ shortly. The compensation per acre will be between Rs 21,500 and Rs 26,000, while the Cauvery delta region will get Rs 25,000.