Kerala declared drought-hit state

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 31, 2016

The once-mighty Bharathapuzha has turned into a trickle

Contingency plans set in motion; to seek Central aid

The Kerala government has declared the entire state drought-hit, with all 14 districts witnessing successive monsoon failures.

The northeast monsoon may have just set in, but even if it were to rain heavily in November and December, it would not be enough to make up for the past deficiencies.

Reservoir levels

State Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan made the announcement in the State Assembly on Monday while replying to a notice for an adjournment motion.

“There has been 34 per cent rainfall during the southwest monsoon. The northeast monsoon, which has set in after a delay, has started off with a 69 per cent deficit with hardly any rain in October.”

He said the State Disaster Management Authority had met under Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday and decided to declare the entire State drought-hit.

Reservoir levels are at least 22 per cent lower than the average. Any significant shortfall in rainfall during the northeast monsoon could lead to power supply restrictions in the state.

The declaration of drought also means that a provision of a moratorium kicks in with respect to agricultural loans, including those drawn from cooperative banks, the minister said. The state government will seek Central aid to overcome the brewing crisis. District collectors have been given a 26-point protocol to be followed to undertake drought-relief measures.

Meanwhile, according to sources, the State Disaster Management Agency had earlier completed the process of evaluating various parameters for declaring a drought in various districts.

Four key indices, including rainfall deficiency, area under sowing, normalised difference vegetation index (decline in green cover), and moisture adequacy are weighed in before precipitating a decision in the matter, they added.

Published on October 31, 2016
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