Oppn slams Guj govt for 'face-saving act' on drought

Ahmedabad, March 27: The Gujarat government has declared nearly 4,000 villages, most of them in Saurashtra, as scarcity or semi-scarcity owing to poor rainfall during last monsoon. The government, while announcing this in the state assembly on Tuesday, said that its immediate priority was to ensure drinking water and fodder in the affected areas.

State revenue minister Anandi Patel said in the assembly on Tuesday that 939 villages were declared to be scarcity-hit while 2,979 villages were declared to be semi-scarcity hit. All these villages fall in 69 talukas and 10 districts.

Saurashtra region, which had witnessed the most number of farmer suicides last year, was the worst-hit by low rainfall. Over 3,600 villages hit by scarcity or semi-scarcity fall in the six districts of Saurashtra. Junagadh district is home to 848 villages, followed by Rajkot (717), Bhavnagar (670), Amreli (626) and Porbandar (113).

A village is said to be hit by scarcity or semi-scarcity based on anawari survey, a traditional practice of assessing agricultural output during the harvest season. A village where the anawari is less than four anis is declared to be scarcity-affected. Besides, a village where the anawari ranged between four to six anis is called to be semi-scarcity affected.

The anawari survey also said that lakhs of farmers underwent huge financial losses owing to the crop failure. A senior official said that payment of crop insurance to farmers was underway.

The opposition Congress said the government reacted late on the issue and termed the latter's announcing the scarcity-hit villages as a face-saving exercise. Leader of the Opposition Shankersinh Vaghela said the government knew that they would raise the issue of water shortage in the House on Wednesday and hastily made a statement on it.

Vaghela said that the whole taluka was declared scarcity-hit but it is for the first time that the government had declared selected villages of a taluka as scarcity-hit. He said the northern region of the state was also reeling under water scarcity.

OneIndia News

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