THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government on Monday declared all 14 districts drought-affected and announced plans to approach the Centre for assistance.
The announcement regarding the drought situation was made in the Assembly by Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan. The state was facing a potentially crisis scenario on account of the low rainfall received this year, he said.
‘’The southwest monsoon fell short of expectations by 34 per cent. The IMD had forecast that the north-east monsoon would be 90 to 100 per cent of the long period average. But there is a 69 per cent shortfall in the volume of rain expected during October-December,’’ Chandrasekharan said.
‘’The situation is such that even if the state receives the full quantum of rain during November and December, the drought situation will still persist,’’ he said. The state was declared drought-hit following meetings convened by the Chief Minister on October 13 and October 28.
In a set of instructions already issued to district collectors, the government has outlined strict measures to conserve water and to prevent misuse. The regulations will be valid up to May 2017, according the circular issued to the collectors. Collectors have been asked to urgently convene meetings of people’s representatives in the presence of ministers in charge of each district to plan adequate arrangements ahead of summer.
Meanwhile, the State Disaster Management Authority has been tasked with preparing a memorandum which will be submitted to the Centre for seeking financial assistance. The drought situation will be reviewed on a weekly basis at the secretary level. The Revenue Minister and Agriculture Minister will tour all the districts. The Chief Minister will review the situation through view video conferencing.