MP seeks Rs 23791 cr central package to tide over drought

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New Delhi, Jan 22 (UNI) The Madhya Pradesh government today sought a Rs 23,791 crore package from the Central government to tide over drought in 37 of the state's 48 districts.

In a memorandum submitted to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar here, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan demanded an immediate grant of Rs 1,541 crore to overcome the crisis and requested another Rs 22,250 crore as a special development programme to deal with drought in the long term.

Stating that 157 tehsils in 37 districts were severely affected by drought, Mr Chouhan said Bundelkhand region was the worst hit as it had been under drought conditions for the last three years. The rabbi crop could be sown only in 30 per cent of the Bundelkhand region where cattle fodder had become scarce and wells dry, he added.

Urging the Central agencies to buy wheat at market prices so that quality cereal were supplied to the people, Mr Chouhan drew Mr Pawar's attention to the "poor quality of imported wheat" distributed in the state, adding that it was reddish in colour.

The Chief Minister also demanded large allotment of above poverty line (APL) wheat to the state and support price of more than Rs 1,000 per quintal.

Promising all possible help, Mr Pawar said a Central team would visit Madhaya Pradesh in the first week of February to undertake a survey of the drought-affected areas, a state governemnt release said.

UNI SAA AM RN1710

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