K V Kurmanath

Hyderabad, Aug. 1 With the rainfall deficit continuing to hover around 50 per cent, the Andhra Pradesh Government is likely to put 600-800 mandals, out of a total of 1,128, in the ‘drought-hit’ category.

Highly-placed sources in the State Government told Business Line that the State, however, may come out with the announcement on the drought-hit mandals only after August 15.

Latest numbers

“The Government would write to the Centre, giving details of the extent of the drought,” they said.

According to the latest figures available with the Agriculture Ministry, 969 mandals reported deficient or scanty rains.

The State witnessed rainfall of just 149.50 mm as on July 30, showing a deficit of 50 per cent.

Exceptions

Six districts, including Krishna, Guntur and Nellore, received ‘scanty’ rainfall (-66 per cent to -99 per cent).

Barring the northern coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam, the remaining 14 districts were in the deficit rainfall bracket of -20 per cent . to -59 per cent.

Fund release

Incidentally, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, Chief Minister, who reviewed the situation with top officials from different Ministries on Saturday, said that 80 per cent of the mandals received either deficit or scanty rainfall.

He asked the Disaster Management Department to immediately release Rs 45 crore to relevant departments to help them take immediate measures.

Next meeting

He has convened the next meeting on August 16, to take stock of the situation.

Employment scheme

In view of the drought-like situation, the State Government saw an increase in the number of people seeking wage employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

The officials expected that 30-35 lakhs labourers were likely to seek jobs, costing Rs 500-600 crore a month.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 2, 2009)
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