Tamil Nadu chief minister O.Panneerselvam on Tuesday announced that all parts of the state will be declared drought-hit, owing to the failure of the northeast monsoon last year. Land tax will be waived totally for farmers.
The chief minister said that 17 farmers had committed suicide in the last two months and a relief assistance of Rs 3 lakh would be extended to each of the bereaved families.
"Reports have been sought from the district collectors on the deaths reported in media. Upon getting the reports, the assistance will be extended to those families as well," he said.
Panneerselvam said a request would be made to the Centre very shortly seeking relief assistance to manage the drought situation. "Relief assistance will be extended to the crop damage of more than 33% as per guidelines under disaster relief. In line with this order, a sum of Rs 5,565 will be extended to farmers per acre of paddy crop," he said. Insurance companies will extend compensation upon crop cutting experiment shortly. A sum of Rs 21,500 to Rs 26,000 would be paid towards compensation per acre, and it would be Rs 25,000 in the Cauvery delta region.
Panneerselvam said the working days under MGNREGA would be increased to 150 days from the existing 100. "The state will take up Rs 3,400 crore worth desilting and restoration works in water bodies, which would help agricultural labourers getting employment," the CM said.
Schemes costing Rs 78 crore would be implemented by the animal husbandry department to ensure fodder supply in the wake of drought.
As part of mitigating acute water crisis, the state government would take up Rs 160 worth schemes in urban local bodies and Rs 350 crore in rural local bodies. A sum of Rs 5 crore would be spent towards supply of water to wild animals. That apart, Rs 25 crore worth schemes will be implemented by the public works department to improve the ground water table.