Centre-state meet on drought contingency plan on May 28

  • Press Trust of India, PTI, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: May 15, 2003 14:21 IST

Centre has convened a meeting of agriculture ministers of 18 states at the end of this month to brace up for a possible drought and to prepare contingency plans well in advance.

"It will be a stock taking exercise to prepare for any scarcity of water in the upcoming kharif season in the light of drought last year," official sources said.

They said the meeting, scheduled on May 28, will take up the likely relief measures and preparations needed for the purpose in general and not the financial requirement of the states.

The agenda of the meeting, to be chaired by Union Agriculture Minister Ajit Singh, includes studying the production and productivity pattern in the drought last year.

Accordingly, the contingency plans will be worked out for the current kharif season for which sowing is scheduled to begin shortly.

The strategy needed to handle the calamity and identifying crops to be sown in drought-prone areas will be deliberated upon in the meeting.

Since the drought hits the rainfed areas the most, farming in these regions with optimum utilisation of water, seeds and pesticides will be discussed. Last year, in what was termed as the worst drought in more than a century, 14 states were hit during the kharif season and four in the rabi season.

Production fell by 25 per cent in oilseeds and 14 per cent in grains mainly due to less sowing of crops.

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