8 out of 13 districts to be declared drought-hit in Uttarakhand
Chief secretary Shatrughana Singh said on Thursday that in view of about 80,000 hectares of irrigated and non-irrigated agricultural land being hit by the drought in eight hill districts across Garhwal and Kumaon divisions, the state administration may declare these districts drought-hit within the next two to three days.
“The survey team had apparently concluded that only 70,000 hectares of land covering five hill districts were badly hit by the drought owing to absence of rainfall, but later they came to know that three more hill districts may be hit. That is why we have yet to draft a final proposal to be sent to the Centre for all eight hill districts,” the chief secretary said.
Senior officials in the agriculture department said that the final proposal on the conditions of drought-hit districts which will also include the extent of damage caused by the drought district-wise.
“Once the detailed findings on the drought conditions of these eight districts are completed, we will send the report to the Centre, seeking financial help in order to compensate those affected,” Singh said.
According to experts, while the five hill districts hit by the drought are Pauri, Rudraprayag, Nainital, Almora and Pithoragarh, the names of the three additional districts will be announced soon. These may be Chamoli, Bageshwar and Tehri. While four drought-affected districts —Almora, Bageshwar, Nainital and Pithoragarh — are in Kumaon division, four others —Rudraprayag, Chamoli, Pauri and Tehri — are in Garhwal.
According to members of the survey team, Almora is the worst hit with 1,343 hectares of irrigated land and 24,000 hectares of unirrigated land affected by drought. Officials said deficit rains coupled with poor irrigation facilities have created the drought-like situation in the hills.