Thiruvananthapuram: State Revenue Minister E Chandrasekheran on Monday announced in the state assembly that Kerala has been declared a drought-hit state as all the 14 districts are facing extreme drought-like situations.
The minister made this announcement after leave of the house for an adjournment motion was sought by senior Congress legislator VS Sivakumar.
"The south-west monsoon in the state (June to September) has fallen short by 34 percent and the north-east monsoon (October to December) as on date shows 69 percent shortfall. And even if the full quota of rains is received in the next two months, it won't be of help. Hence it has been decided to announce Kerala as a drought-hit state," said Chandrasekheran.
He said on account of drought, the state has set out a 26-point charter that each of the 14 District Collectors has to ensure is well met.
"Every week the Chief Secretary will link up with all the District Collectors to ensure that all issues are addressed. There would be regular meetings with all the legislators and other people's representatives that will monitor the steps being taken to address the drought," said the minister.
Sivakumar told the assembly that such a situation has not happened in the recent history of the state. The rainfall records show that it has been the worst in the past one decade.
"From June to September we should receive around 2,039 mm of rainfall and what we received was just 1,352 mm. Consequent to this shortage, the water level in all the reservoirs has dropped, and the groundwater table has gone down, leading to wells getting dried up," said Sivakumar.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala welcomed the minister's decision to declare the state as drought-hit.
"On account of this, we will not walk out of the house and ...the state government should now make efforts to get additional assistance from the Centre and to see that its team visits the state early... The state government should lead a delegation to the Centre, as political moves also help," said Chennithala.
The opposition leaders also sought that the state government should announced soon a moratorium on all loans taken by farmers, be it for agriculture or others.