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Kerala all-party meet seeks more drought relief

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , March 10

AN all-party meeting called by the State Government has declared that Kerala has not received sufficient Central assistance to combat the drought confronting the State. Addressing a press conference after the meeting, the Chief Minister, Mr A.K. Antony, said that all those who took part in the meeting agreed that this sentiment must be conveyed to the Union Government.

Given the severity of the drought in Kerala, the State will make a second representation to the Union Government requesting more assistance, the Chief Minister said. Almost all villages in the State are confronting an acute scarcity of drinking water, he added.

The State Government has also decided to sanction an additional Rs 60 crore for drought relief work in the districts, said Mr Antony. This decision was taken at a meeting of district collectors held here on Wednesday, he added.

District authorities will henceforth be allowed to use money from the drought relief fund to dig new wells and maintain existing wells. Measures to alleviate the condition of farmers who have been affected by the drought and steps to tackle the scarcity of drinking water will be the primary components of the Government's drought control strategy, he added.

In keeping with the Government's policy of popularising rainwater harvesting, it has been decided to make such systems mandatory in all Government buildings and educational institutions, said the Chief Minister. Ministers will visit each district as a prelude to preparing an action plan to tackle the drought, he explained. A crisis management team, with the State's Chief Secretary at its helm, will also be set up.

In response to a query on the environmental implications of sand mining across the State, Mr Antony replied that the issue is a very serious one. Measures to tackle the problem will be discussed at the next meeting of the Cabinet, he added.

More Stories on : Climate & Weather | Natural Calamities | Kerala | Water

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