Experts to visit drought zones

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  • Published 11.08.10

New Delhi, Aug. 10: A team of central officials and experts will visit Jharkhand to assess the drought situation, Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said in the Lok Sabha today, a day after Raj Bhavan added four names to the existing list of 12 parched districts.

Tomorrow, the central team will go to Bihar, which has also recorded deficit rainfall this monsoon, on a similar mission.

Pawar’s assurance came in response to a question raised by RJD MP Lalu Prasad, who wanted to know what the agriculture minister was doing to counter the “severe and devastating” drought conditions sweeping across north Bihar.

“There is nothing to eat, not a drop of water to drink. It seems all the dire warnings of the effects of global warming have come true in Bihar. But what is this government doing to provide relief to people?” Lalu asked.

Exactly a week ago, Jharkhand Governor M..H. Farook had declared 12 districts — Latehar, Ramgarh, Chatra, Seraikela-Kharsawan, Khunti, East Singhbhum, Jamtara, Palamau, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Ranchi and Giridih — drought-hit.

A roadmap was also prepared to undertake a slew of relief measures by using a Rs 390-crore corpus available with the state disaster management department.

However, the decision set off a clamour with several political parties demanding the entire state be declared drought-hit as a weak monsoon had dealt a huge blow to agriculture across Jharkhand. Yesterday, Raj Bhavan sought to quell the protest by including Gumla, Deoghar, Hazaribagh and Garhwa in the parched list.

But political parties are not happy. While a BJP delegation is scheduled to meet the governor with a demand to declare entire Jharkhand drought-hit on Thursday, a Congress team called on Farook today. The JMM has also joined the protest pitch with threats to launch agitations.