Tamil Nadu has been in the news for a month with the sudden demise of their iconic chief minister Jayalalithaa, and the latest developments in the controversial sport of Jallikattu. Amidst all the headlines and debates, the current chief minister O Panneerselvam declared all the 32 districts of the state are drought-hit owing to the failure of the northeast monsoon in 2016.
More than 144 farmers have reportedly died in the past three months because of crop failure. This is probably the worst drought to hit the state in 140 years. 65 farmers had committed suicide in the last two months, although the government claims 17 farmers have taken their lives.
A slew of measures by the CM
The Chief Minister on Tuesday announced measures worth Rs 160 crore and Rs 350 crore to alleviate the present water crisis in the cities and villages. He also announced that land tax would be waived. A solatium of Rs 3 lakh will be offered as a relief assistance to each of the bereaved families.
The Tamil Nadu government will also seek help from the Centre in few days for their assistance, the Chief Minister said.
As per the data of Regional Meteorological Centre, most districts in the state witnessed deficient rainfall from October 1 to December 31, 2016. Districts such as Cuddalore, Namakkal, Puducherry, Karaikal, Salem and Erode, Nagapattinam and Karur received 70 to 80 per cent deficient rain during the three-month period.
As per the guidelines under disaster relief, farmers who have incurred a crop damage of more than 33 percent will be given Rs 565 per acre of paddy crop.
Rs 3,400 crore will be used to desilt reservoirs, channels and restoring lakes. Such task would also ensure employment for farming workers. Moreover, workers under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) will work for 150 days, more from the current 100 days.
For fodder needs of cattle Rs 78 crore has been allocated, while Rs 160 crore will be allocated for improving resources for the drinking water needs in urban areas through the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department. Rs 350 crore will be earmarked for the same in rural areas.
Rs 25 crore will be allocated to the Public Works Department (PWD) for improving the groundwater table and to give an impetus to drinking water resources.