‘Centre in touch with states over drought; formulated a CMP’

'Centre in touch with states over drought; formulated a CMP'NEW DELHI: Centre is in constant touch with states to monitor any drought like situation and has shared a crisis plan formulated by it, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said today.

The Minister also said a ‘Weather Monitoring Group’ meets every week in which Agriculture Secretary discusses the situation with senior ministry officials.

Besides talks are also held by the group with the concerned state officials about poor monsoon and any drought like situation via video conferencing, he said in a facebook post.

Denying the Congress party’s allegations that the government has not interacted with states over the drought issue, Singh said,” I had written a letter to all state Chief Ministers on June 27, and informed them about the districts which are likely to get affected in case of drought and suggested to them a draft plan to tackle the situation.”

Singh in the letter had said – Government of India has formulated a crisis management plan (CMP-2014) which outlines the programs that can be pressed into action in the eventuality of any drought.

In the letter, Singh has also suggested that: “Formulation of similar plan at the state level would prove to be extremely useful in dealing with any potential drought situation. I would, therefore, like to request you to direct the officers concerned in your state to expedite the preparation for the state level crisis management plan on drought.”

The Agriculture Minister also informed that in co-ordination with states, Centre had put in place a contingency plan that will target 500 major producing districts, thereby preparing for the worst.

Private weather agency, Skymet has predicted a possibility of the country facing drought this year, with the chances being as high as 80 per cent in North West India.

Two weather agencies have predicted a sub-normal monsoon, but not a drought yet. The India Meteorological Department has pegged this year’s monsoon at 93 per cent of the long-term average, while Skymet has forecast it at 94 per cent.

The monsoon is crucial for agriculture as 60 per cent of the country’s cultivable land is fed by rain.

As on July 13, overall the country has received only 43 per cent of rainfall. It has only received 153.4 mm of rainfall as compared to expected rainfall of 270.6 mm.-PTI

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