Assuring relief to farmers hit by failure of monsoon and Cauvery water crisis, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday announced setting up of a high-level committee to look into the extent of damage to crops.
The committee will assess the extent of damage to crops and drought and make recommendations to the government regarding areas that should be declared as drought-hit, she said in an official statement.
"Based on this, relief will be provided to farmers in drought-affected areas and my government will make all efforts to ensure the farmers are not affected," she said.
Finance minister O Panneerselvam will head the committee while agriculture minister Damodaran and electricity minister Natham R Viswanathan are among its other members.
Recalling that she had already announced a relief of Rs. 13,692 per acre as relief under crop insurance scheme and state Disaster management fund, she said the panel will also assess the need for more relief.
She also announced that keeping in view the coming Pongal (harvest) festival, the government will provide to 1.84 crore ration card holders, entitled for rice, a package which will have one kg of rice, one kg of sugar and Rs. 100 cash to buy other ingredients required to prepare 'sarkarai pongal', a sweet delicacy.
The government will incur an additional expenditure of Rs. 300 crore, she added.
The efforts would not only address the grievances of farmers but also enable "people of Tamil Nadu celebrate Pongal with joy," she said extending her Pongal greetings.