Monitor drought relief measures every week, Modi tells CMs

Monitor drought relief measures every week, Modi tells CMs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advised the chief ministers of 11 drought-affected states to review the drought-proofing measures implemented by the states on a weekly basis till the onset of the southwest monsoon.

In the last two weeks, Modi met the chief ministers of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat to take stock of the drought situation. The last two meetings with the chief ministers of Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh happened on Tuesday. Modi asked the chief ministers to initiate new drought-proofing measures and review the existing ones regularly till the arrival of monsoon in June.

India Meteorological Department on Sunday announced a delay in the onset of monsoon over the Kerala coast by a week. The landfall is now expected around June 7. But the weathermen made it clear that the delay in arrival is not linked to the monsoon's overall performance. Parts of south India including Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, however, are receiving copious rainfall because of a cyclonic activity in the Indian Ocean.

With India witnessing two back-to-back droughts in 2014 and 2015, farmers are eagerly waiting for a good monsoon for a bumper crop.

Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, who attended these meetings along with the prime minister said states have been told to complete the preparatory works for water conservation before the onset of monsoon.

“Each state was requested to prepare an action plan on a weekly basis to tide over challenges like shortage and scarcity of drinking water, conservation efforts and usage of existing water resource optimally and prudently,” he said.

Singh further said the states were told to number all water bodies assigning a unique identity, revive defunct traditional step wells and promote recycling of waste water for farm use. The states have also been asked to undertake a major drive for construction of farm ponds. The NDA government plans to create five lakh farm ponds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme.

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