Guwahati, April 3: Dispur today set a 10-day deadline for deputy commissioners to submit a district-wise contingency plan to tackle drought.
The deadline was among several steps chalked out at a high-level meeting chaired by chief minister Tarun Gogoi to take stock of the state’s preparedness to tackle flood and drought at the CM’s conference here this afternoon. However, there was hardly any discussion on flood preparedness as it was “still some time away”, sources said.
Several ministers, Nilamani Sen Deka (agriculture), Ardhendu Dey (irrigation), Rakibul Hussain (panchayat and rural development), Basanta Das (fisheries), Rajib Lochan Pegu (water resources), Ajanta Neog (PWD), Prithibi Majhi (revenue and disaster management) and Khorsing Engti (veterinary and hill areas), and senior bureaucrats attended the meet.
Pegu told this correspondent that the meeting took stock of the drought-like situation that has cropped up in the state because of 71 per cent average fall in rainfall and discussed possible remedial measures.
“Though the situation is not alarming, the chief minister has asked all district administrations to submit a contingency plan by next to next Friday (April 13) to the revenue and disaster management department which will then be compiled for appropriate remedial action. The chief minister also laid stress on strengthening water harvesting system in government buildings, and by developing ponds and dredging rivers,” he said.
The Telegraph had today reported that three months of dry spell had left the state staring at a drought-like situation. Of the 27 districts, Darrang has had no rainfall, Karbi Anglong 97 per cent less rainfall than normal and Cachar 37 per cent less than normal.
Though Dispur claimed the situation was not alarming, eight to 10 per cent of rabi crop has been affected, sources said. The situation is likely to continue till May.
Sources said the district-wise contingency plan was mooted by principal secretary, revenue and disaster management, V.K. Pripersenia.
R.T. Jindal, agriculture production commissioner, said chief secretary N.K. Das would conduct a review meeting every Friday morning. The agriculture and revenue departments have also been asked to remain in touch with each other. “The administration has been asked to be proactive in assisting drought-hit families,” a source said.
The agriculture department is likely to allocate Rs 10 crore from its budget for drought relief. Sources said more funds would be made available to departments to take up measures for drought mitigation. All the departments have been asked to think of long-term measures to mitigate drought and flood.