Rajasthan braces itself for drought

CM seeks backup plan to protect farmers

With an erratic monsoon, the spectre of drought looms large over Rajasthan. Chief minister Ashok Gehlot has directed the officials to prepare contingency plan in the light of the huge deficit of monsoon rains in the state.

 The CM, taking stock of the deficit rainfall, has asked the officials to prepare for the drought situation at a meeting of the disaster management committee. He directed the officials to prepare a proposal for increasing the number of man-days for those who completed 100 days under the MNREGS to 200 days and make arrangement for payment s under the food for work programme. 

 “The monsoon so far has been 33 per cent less than the average in the state and the sowing has been just 43 per cent in the state. If the rain doe not pick up in the last week of July, even the survival of the already sowed seed is doubtful,” said officials in the agriculture department.

“Till now only 68 lakh hectares have been under sowing compared to last year more than 150 lakh hectares were under cultivation by now,” added the official.

It was informed that the monsoon rain in the last leg of July is very crucial for the Kharif crops sown and if it fails then the chances of the survival of the seeds sown is very dim.

An official said the regional Met department said, “A low pressure area forming in the Bay of Bengal is the only hope for the state. It may cause some rain in the state. But if it fails, it is a very bad situation for the state.”

The deficit in monsoon rains has also vitiated the power situation in the state. The power distribution companies have already resorted a three hour in district headquarters and in the villages, the condition has become worse.

“The power demand had gone up to a record 16lakh units per day due to an extended summer while the supply is hardly 14 lakh units, pointed out an official justifying power cut. 

Gehlot asked officials to make arrangements for drinking water, fodder to the livestock and power to the farmers on an urgent basis.

It was informed that that at present 3,496 villages and 43 towns were provided drinking water through water tankers.

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