Centre sanctions Rs 1,540 cr drought assistance to Karnataka

New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday said it has sanctioned a relief package of Rs 1,540 crore for Karnataka, which declared drought in 27 districts due to deficit monsoon rainfall this year.

Till now, seven states — Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh — have declared drought in 200 districts. So far, six states have submitted their memorandum seeking central assistance.

The Centre also urged other drought-affected states like Bihar and Jharkhand to submit their memorandum urgently so that to provide relief to farmers.

“Barring Andhra Pradesh, six states have submitted their memorandum. We have sanctioned Rs 1,540 crore assistance to Karnataka,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told reporters after the meeting with State Agriculture Commissioners and Principal Secretaries here.

A package of Rs 1,387 crore has been recommended for Chhattisgarh after assessing the situation in 25 drought declared districts in the state, he said, adding that the proposal is expected to get clearance from the high-level committee soon.

The minister said relief funds are sanctioned after the extent of damage has been assessed in drought-hit states by the central teams.

“Presently, central teams are visiting Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. To assess the situation in Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, central teams are being dispatched immediately,” the minister said.

Drought has been declared in 50 districts in UP, 27 districts in Madhya Pradesh and 21 districts each in Odisha and Maharashtra, he said.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments have also declared drought in some districts and it is yet to send a memorandum seeking central assistance, he added.

In the meeting, the minister discussed about the drought condition among other issues with the state government officials.

There was a 14 percent deficit in southwest monsoon this year due to the influence of the El-Nino phenomenon. Last year also the monsoon reported a deficiency of 12 percent.