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Drought: Central team to submit report by month-end

By Our Staff Reporter

MADANAPALLE (CHITTOOR DT.), MARCH 18. The Central drought team, which visited the perennially drought-hit Madanapalle division in the district's western tract, is expected to submit its report to the Centre in a week.

Visibly shaken at the severity of the drought and the hardship the public were put to for potable water, the members assured to do their best to provide relief to the district. The Collector, A.Giridhar, sought relief worth Rs.300 crores, of which Rs.150 crores is for employment creation, Rs.25 crores and Rs.5 crores respectively for urban and rural water supply and the rest towards other heads of account. Of the 1.5 lakh tonnes of rice sought, the district is most likely to get 40,000 tonnes soon.

The technical team headed by V.Venkatesan, director, Department of rural development, had as members, Shankar Narayan, assistant advisor, Ministry of Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation, R.K.Gawai, director, rural development and Rajvir Singh, director, Forage development centre, which was accompanied by Gnaneswar, chief engineer, Rural water supply. Mr.Giridhar and Madanapalle sub-collector, Smitha Das, took the Central team around the villages ravaged by four consecutive years of drought.

After reviewing a photo exhibition in Horsely Hills, the team toured Raja Nagar in Madanapalle town where it saw womenfolk vying with each other near tankers to get a pitcher or two of water. The Collector explained that 500 tankers were being pressed into service daily to the various areas in the town. The women lamented that they had to purchase water at the rate of Rs.140 a tanker. The team then paid a visit to the Bahuda project, the converging point of the various streams flowing from Karnataka to provide an ayacut of 2,880 acres in parts of Madanapalle and Vayalpad constituencies.

The team was informed that talks were on with farmers to lift irrigation water for drinking purposes. During an interaction with the workers laying a concrete road near CTM tank, the members were more than convinced that the drought work, as an alternative employment, was the only semblance of relief to the distressed public. The members talked to farmers at Ramakkacheruvu in Angallu, who demanded setting up of a fodder camp, for which the Collector readily agreed.

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