India

Jharkhand gets drought relief

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Jaideep Deogharia | TNN | Feb 16, 2016, 09.11 AM IST

Ranchi: Jharkhand on Monday received Rs 336.94 crore relief assistance for drought-affected farmers, but the amount was way less than the state government's demand for over Rs 2000 crore.

The Centre on Monday approved relief assistance of over Rs 4,000 crore for seven drought-affected states from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). The maximum Rs 1,737.65 crore will be released to Tamil Nadu, followed by Rs 1,193.41 crore to Rajasthan.

Jharkhand had demanded Rs 2,142.78 crore from the Centre, of which Rs 359 crore was demanded under NDRF and the remaining amount was demanded under various heads, like drinking water schemes and small and medium irrigation facilities. Though the central assistance of Rs 336.94 crore appears paltry in the wake of the voluminous demand, sources in the state government said there is substantial unspent fund available with the disaster management department, which is already being used to carry on drought relief measures.

Of the unspent central fund of Rs 1,800 crore accumulated over the last few years, the state has spent around Rs 200 crore and is left with a balance of Rs 1,600 crore. Colonel Sanjay Kumar Srivastava, special projects officer posted in the disaster management department of Jharkhand, said Rs 336.94 crore is going to help the state in strengthening its water management system. "Our priority will be construction of ponds, aahar, check dam and creating more water harvesting structures," he said.

Under the ongoing 'yojna banao abhiyan', special drive of the state rural development department, government has got demand for water resource structures from the villages. Colonel Srivastava said that a bigger chunk of the central assistance would go into execution of such water related projects demand for which has come from the village level.

State government while meeting the Central team had placed separate demand for National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP), medium and small irrigation projects and agriculture department as well. "We hope that the Centre would also consider some of the demands pending under these heads and announce assistance in due course of time," Colonel Srivastava said.

The decision to release central assistance to these states was taken in a meeting of the high-level committee (HLC), chaired by home minister Rajnath Singh. Actual relief will, however, depend on how the states disburse these amounts among the affected families.