Entire Himachal drought affected – Cabinet

Shimla: As the Himachal government heads into the monsoon session next week, the cabinet, which met today with chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in the chair, declared the entire state as drought affected.

The cabinet after taking stock of the prolonged drought conditions declared all 12 districts as drought affected, a cabinet spokesman said. The cabinet has sought a damage report from the field which would be submitted with a detailed memorandum to the central government for compensation under relief measures, he added.

As the state has been experiencing deficient rainfall since the month of October, 2008 to July, 2009, reports, based upon the ‘Special Girdawari’ ordered in February, 2009, has reported a crop loss of upto 96 percent, the spokesman disclosed.

So far an amount of Rs 21.22 crore has been received under calamity relief fund, which stand utilized. An amount of Rs 42 crores has been sanctioned as first installment under the calamity relief fund.

An amount of Rs 8.60 crore was marked for providing transport subsidy for tankers deployed in water scarce areas, Rs 16.34 crore has been released for drilling hand pumps in water scarce regions, Rs 4.02 crore has been released for transportation subsidy to farmers and Rs 5 crore released to subsidize agriculture inputs.

To meet the gravity of the prolonged drought conditions, the cabinet decided to sanction Rs 7 crores from its own resources, to meet the drought contingency of drought.

It was also decided to remit the land revenue of the farmers for Rabi and Kharif crops, the spokesman said.

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