‘State facing worst drought in 115 years’

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 13, 2018

Governor P Sathasivam delivers the policy address of the LDF government in the State Assembly in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday S Mahinsha

Governor’s address lists areas of concern

Kerala is faced with a drought situation of a scale unprecedented in the last 115 years of recorded history, with the monsoons failing one after the other during the year just past.

Rainfall in the southwest monsoon season was 34 per cent less than normal while that during the northeast monsoon was 61 per cent below normal.

This has made for a worrisome situation, Governor P Sathasivam said in his customary address to the State Assembly at the beginning of the budget session on Thursday.

Depleted reservoirs

Water levels in major reservoirs add up to only 41 per cent of capacity, when it should have been 60 per cent.

Groundwater in most parts of the state is going down drastically. As much as 30,116 hectares of cultivated crop has been damaged so far.

Contingency plan

The state government has put in place a meticulous contingency plan to tackle the crisis, he said.

Funds have been released to district collectors, the Agriculture Department, the Kerala Water Authority and Groundwater Department for tackling the drinking water scarcity and for compensating farmers.

The government realises the enormity of the crisis that the cash crops sector faces. Small growers and farmers of rubber, who constitute a large segment of the plantation workforce, are the hardest hit, the Governor said.

Demonetisation woes

The government is also worried about the impact of demonetisation of high-value notes on the state’s economy during the last quarter of 2016-17 as well as in 2017-18, the Governor said.

Another serious issue engaging the government is the plight of Keralites in the Gulf countries in the face of the economic crisis in that region.

There is perceptible increase in the number of who are being forced to return home. If the trend persists, it will not only affect domestic consumption but also add to the number of educated and skilled unemployed and under-employed in the state.

Need for reforms

The government realises that what is need is yet another vigorous dose of reforms. It is in this backdrop that it has launched the Nava Kerala Karma Padhathi. This will be backed up by strategic thinking, systematic planning, meticulous execution and focused delivery, the Governor said.

The Nava Kerala Karma Padhati encompasses four missions spanning six priority sectors.

Attracting investment

The government is committed to ensure ease of doing business and providing a hospitable environment for investment in the state, the Governor said. The aim is to make it the number one state for (i) sustainable responsible industries; (ii) service industries through continuous skill development; and (iii) agriculture through sustainable and scientific techniques.

Massive reforms needed in this regard would be taken up with focus on zero corruption, the Governor added.

Published on February 23, 2017

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