Assess how painful the drought has been, Centre tells states | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Assess how painful the drought has been, Centre tells states

delhi Updated: Aug 21, 2009 22:53 IST

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The Centre on Friday asked the states affected by drought to study the depth and magnitude of distress and submit a memorandum to be eligible for assistance out of the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF).

Unveiling an action plan to deal with drought, declared in 246 districts across ten states, after a day-long meet with state agriculture ministers, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said only six States have so far sent memorandum seeking assistance under NCCF.

Pawar said the Central teams have either visited or are in the process of doing so to these six affected States for making an assessment of drought.

The high-level committee, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, would decide on the funds to be released to these States, based on the recommendation of the Central team.

Stating that the Centre has released Rs 1,472 crore so far to 19 states under Calamity Relief Fund, Pawar said the States have "money in the hand" to handle the situation.

Under the action plan, he said the Centre would provide additional power from the central pool to the States for irrigation, depending upon availability of surplus power.

He said the Centre would formulate "a scheme for large scale sinking of shallow tubewells involving Nabard loans and an element of subsidy for the farmers in drought affected districts amenable to exploitation of ground water."

Besides, he said the Centre would ensure that seeds are available to the States for late Kharif and Rabi seasons.