Tamil Nadu Chief Minister urged farmers not to panic over the drought-like situation in the state. His statement comes two days ahead of a state-wide agitation called by farmersâ€™ groups to demand that Tamil Nadu be declared drought-hit.
In his statement issued on Tuesday, Panneerselvam said a high-level committee comprising of IAS officers and senior ministers would be formed to assess the drought situation and crop failure in the state and would submit a report on January 10.
â€śI wish to assure you that, based on this information, a statement will be made on the drought situation and adequate relief measures will be provided,â€ť the CM promised.
Explaining the reasons for the drought-like situation, the Chief Minister noted that Tamil Nadu did not receive sufficient water from Karnataka and that there was deficient rain in the Northeast monsoon season. He stated that in 21 out of 32 districts there was a rain deficit of 60% this season. Panneerselvam also added that the Centreâ€™s new guidelines stated that a state can be declared drought-hit only after crops are assessed in 10% of the districts.
The Tamil Nadu government has come under pressure from farmersâ€™ groups across the state for not declaring drought. According to some reports around 50 farmers have killed themselves or died out of shock following crop failure. Farmers in the Delta regions have been carrying out protests over the last few weeks over the issue, with a group in Trichy even holding rats in their mouths to draw attention to their pathetic plight. Opposition parties including the DMK have also attacked the OPS government for not declaring the state as drought-hit.