Location India India

Tamil Nadu: heavy drought has caused farmers’ suicides

Chennai, India: Tamil Nadu has sought the Centre to urgently sanction 10 billions rupees for relief and rehabilitation measures to mitigate the drought situation prevailing in the state.

The state, which submitted a detailed memorandum on the drought situation, demanded a total of Rs 395, 65 millions rupees from the National Disasters Response Fund (NDRF).

Chief Minister O Panneerselvam in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted that the drought situation caused by deficit rainfall — 62 per cent in northeast monsoon and 20 per cent in southwest monsoon — in Tamil Nadu has been exacerbated by Karnataka’s failure to release water in accordance with the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

As against the total quantum of 179 Thousand Million Cubic feet of water which was to be released by Karnataka during the period from June 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016, Karnataka released only 66.5 TMC feet of water, leaving a huge shortfall of 112.5 TMC feet.

As a result, the storage in Mettur Dam, the main reservoir which serves the Cauvery Delta, was grossly insufficient to save even a single paddy crop in the Cauvery Basin of Tamil Nadu, Panneerselvam said.

Out of 16,682 Revenue villages in the state, 13,305 villages have been identified as drought affected.

The situation is likely to worsen in the ensuing months as the North-East monsoon has come to an end and further rains are not part of the normal pattern.

Taking into consideration the prevailing situation in the state and after satisfying the criterion in the revised Manual for Drought Management 2016, the state has been declared as drought affected on January 10, 2017.

According to opposition parties over 150 farmers have died, either committed suicide or died of shock, due to crop failure in the last two months.

The state government estimation downplayed the deaths stating that only 17 farmers died in the last two months. However the government, while sanctioning Rs 300, 000 each to the next of kin of these 17 farmers, said the district collectors have been directed to submit a detailed report on the deaths. Upon receipt of the report the families of the farmers who died of distress will be duly compensated, Panneerselvam said recently.

The memorandum submitted to the Centre was silent on the farmers’ death.


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