Drought-hit Bundelkhand gets funds

April 17th, 2008 - 5:43 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Bhopal, April 17 (IANS) Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region is facing severe drought for the fourth consecutive year - acres of land lie barren, starved of water. The drought has forced villagers of the region to migrate to towns far away in search of food and employment.

The state government has allocated over Rs.10 million to the nine districts that fall in the region, an official statement said Thursday.

Each tehsil (sub-district block) would be provided Rs.40,000 to be used for emergency assistance.

This includes arranging for conveyance for taking patients and accident victims to hospital, providing food grains to the disabled, handicapped, old and destitute people free and providing nutritious diet to children suffering from malnutrition.

All district collectors have been instructed to ensure that at least 100 kg food grains stock is maintained at every gram panchayat (village council). The sarpanch or village head and secretary of the gram panchayat would be responsible for distribution of the food grain.

Cutting across party lines, MPs from the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh had on March 18 appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to declare the severe drought in the region as a national calamity. They demanded a Rs.250 billion special economic package.

They claimed that farmers did not have sufficient water to drink, leave alone irrigate their fields. “There are not many employment opportunities to help farmers find an alternative to feed themselves,” they claimed in a memorandum.

They said that more than 90 percent of the land could not be cultivated due to lack of irrigation facilities and that the livestock was fast perishing due to lack of fodder and water.

The prime minister assured the MPs that he would visit Bundelkhand soon and look into their demand for a financial package.

Bundelkhand is spread across seven districts of Uttar Pradesh and over nine districts of Madhya Pradesh.

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