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Decision on drought relief fund to Telangana next wk: AgriMin

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Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh today said a central team has submitted a report after assessing drought situation in Telangana and a final call on release of the relief fund would be taken next week.

The issue of delay in release of drought relief funds to the state came up for discussion in a meeting with Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya who requested for expediting the process in the interest of farmers.

“A central team has assessed the drought condition in Telangana and submitted the report to us. We will sent the report to Home Ministry in a day or two. I am sure the high- level committee meeting will take a decision on relief funds in the first week of January,” Singh said after the meeting.

The NDA government is giving more relief funds to drought-hit states as compared to the previous governments. “We have sanctioned Rs 1,540 crore to Karnataka this time… the state had never got this much amount. Similarly, we have given more funds to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh,” he told reporters here.

With regard to Andhra Pradesh, Singh said a central team has visited the state and assessed the drought situation. It is yet to submit the report. “Once the report is ready, we will place it before the High-level Committee,” he said.

The Telangana government has declared drought in seven out of 10 districts. It initially submitted a memorandum demanding a relief of Rs 2,514 crore and later sent a supplementary demand of Rs 3,000 crore.

Whereas Andhra Pradesh has declared drought in 10 out of 13 districts and demanded a central assistance of Rs 2,000 crore. The two states submitted their memorandum during November-end.

Dattatreya, who is from Telangana, said the Agriculture Minister has assured more funds to the state. “The report to Home Ministry will be sent in a day or two. I also spoke to the Home Minister over phone requesting him to expedite release of a relief package.”

Dismissing reports that the Centre was not helping drought-hit Telangana, he said, “Some are saying that the central government is releasing relief funds to other states and not to Telangana. This is wrong. There is a process involved for sanctioning of funds.”

Besides Telangana and AP, eight more states have declared drought in 287 districts due to 14 per cent deficit rains this year, affecting farmers and the farming activity.

Already, the Centre has sanctioned a drought relief package of Rs 7,898 crore to four states — Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, and the decision on proposals of other six states will be taken soon.