Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked 11 drought-hit states including Maharashtra to take measures on a weekly basis for drought-proofing of villages till the monsoon arrives in the first week of June.
In the last two weeks, Modi has met separately the chief ministers of 11 drought-hit states such as Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Gujarat. The last meeting with two chief ministers was held yesterday.
According to sources, the Prime Minister has asked these states to take drought-proofing measures on a weekly basis till the arrival of the monsoon rainfall in June.
The Agriculture Ministry and other related ministries have been asked to monitor the situation and see if funds under various central schemes are being properly utilised.
The Met department has predicted 6 days delay in the onset of monsoon that was expected to hit Kerala on June 1.
In a separate statement, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said the states in the meeting with the Prime Minister 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.
For its preparation and implementation, the states have been asked to use technologies to address the challenge of water conservation and water security, he added.
Singh further said that the states have been told to number all water bodies assigning a unique identity, revive defunct traditional/ historical step wells and promote recycling of waste water and use it for agriculture purpose.
The states have also been asked to undertake a major drive for construction of farm ponds, adopt micro-irrigation and diversify into crops requiring less water, he added.
Singh said the states have also been asked to encourage sugarcane cultivation under micro-irrigation in a phased manner, for which farmers will be incentivised.
Besides short-term measures, the states have also been asked to focus on long-term mitigation measures.
The country is facing drought for the second consecutive year due to poor monsoon.