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Central team visits drought-hit areas in Belgaum

BELGAUM JAN. 6. The Central team, which visited drought-hit areas in the State, including in Belgaum district, on Tuesday, is likely to present a report to the Union Government within a week of its return to New Delhi.

Satish Chandra, who is heading the three-member team comprising the Additional Commissioner, Agriculture Ministry, Joginder Singh, and the Under Secretary, Rural Development, K.P. Saroha, disclosed this here.

Vasant Kumar, Director, Department of Horticulture, accompanied the team. The Deputy Commissioner, B.S. Palaksha, briefed them about the problems faced by the people and relief measures implemented by the district administration.

The team visited parts of Ramdurg, Saundatti, Bailhongal, and Belgaum taluks. Ten taluks in the district have been declared drought-hit.

Mr. Palaksha told the team that at least Rs. 4.50 crore was needed to provide drinking water, fodder, and employment to the affected people every month. A total of Rs. 27 crore was needed for relief works in the next six months. The zilla panchayat needed Rs.17.29 crore more for reviving drinking water supply schemes. The district needed 36,000 tonnes of foodgrains for distribution under the food-for-work programme, he added.

Sources said drinking water was being supplied in tankers to 73 villages. A similar arrangement would have to be made for 32 more villages.

Poor rainfall had affected sowing in the district. Sowing had been completed only in 4.59 lakh hectares of land of the target to cover 6.55 lakh hectares during the kharif season. Of the 49,653 hectares to be covered under horticulture, crops such as grape, pomegranate, and banana had failed in 2,874 hectares of land, they added.

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