Now Jayalalitha seeks package for TN

Now Jayalalitha seeks package for TN

After  the UPA government substantially hiked its special grant to Bihar, Nitish Kumar’s counterpart in Tamil Nadu J Jayalalitha is now seeking a special drought-relief package for her state.

With 31 of the 32 districts in TN, barring greater Chennai, reeling under severe drought, the AIADMK supremo on Friday sought a massive special Central funding of Rs 19,666 crores to help tide over the crisis.

Describing it as the “Drought Memorandum” to be sent to the Centre, Jayalalitha, making a suo motu statement in the Assembly, said it includes a substantial component of Rs 9,286 crore to make up for the agriculture production losses during 2012-13 due to the failure of the monsoon.

The memorandum, among other things, includes Rs 182.10 crore spent on rescheduling the drought-hit farmers’ cooperative bank loans by the state government, Rs 1,376.71 crore for the cash compensation paid to farmers who lost over 50 per cent of their produce in the just-concluded agriculture season, Rs 2,424.47 crore for employment guarantee schemes to agriculture workers rendered idle, Rs 2,661.32 crore towards compensation paid to the TN electricity distribution and generation corporation, and Rs 334 crore for enhancing the nutritive value of noon-meals to school children.

Detailing the steps taken by her government to help distressed farmers from the Cauvery delta region, Jayalalitha said a separate team, led by the state Finance Minister O Pannerselvam, was sent to study the drought situation in the non-Cauvery delta districts as well.

Based on the committee’s report, the chief minister on Friday announced a slew of relief and employment generation measures for the remaining districts, covering all categories of farmers depending on the type of crops they cultivated.
These measures will benefit over 17.84 lakh farmers in the non-Cauvery delta districts.

“For the first time, a state government has announced special relief assistance for different categories of farmers whose crops have failed due to drought, besides a Rs 145-crore contingency plan for all districts to meet drinking water shortage,” the chief minister said.

Taken along with the assistance already announced for the eight Cauvery delta districts, the total drought-relief package for farmers alone sums up to Rs 1,755 crore, Jayalalitha said, and expressed hope that the Centre will extend a helping hand.

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