New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, both states facing drought in some parts, as well as the chief minister of Karnataka and said that the Centre, states, local bodies, NGOs and citizens must work together to deal with problems posed by drought in parts of the country.
Modi asked the state leaders to generate awareness among people in their respective states to use water resources judiciously.
“Had a productive meeting with UP CM Akhilesh Yadav on the drought situation in various parts of UP. The various drought mitigation measures undertaken in the state were discussed extensively in the meeting,” Modi tweeted after meeting Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
Yadav apprised the prime minister of the work done by the state government for farmers and drought-affected areas. Nearly 50 districts are facing drought in Uttar Pradesh which is reeling under acute water scarcity.
In yet another tweet, Modi said: “Akhilesh Yadav and I discussed the need to effectively utilize the period before monsoon for water recharge and conservation efforts. Usage of latest technology and community participation, particularly of our Nari Shakti can play a key role in effective drought management.”
The prime minister told Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis that the government must focus on medium and long-term solutions to tackle drought in various parts of the state.
He also stressed on the importance of using water efficiently through drip irrigation and sprinklers in agriculture, stating that drip irrigation in sugarcane increases the quality of sugar.
The prime minister said there was a need to adopt a judicious mix of traditional and modern water conservation and storage mechanisms. He said that a lot can be learnt from the water management practices and measures adopted by Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Chief Minister Fadnavis said that his government was working on a plan to ensure that the entire sugarcane belt in Maharashtra comes under drip irrigation in three years.
Modi also discussed all water related problems in Karnataka with Chief Minister S. Siddaramaiah, who described the problems being faced by people owing to the severe drought.
Siddaramaiah said that major rivers and reservoirs in the State are facing acute water shortage. He explained the various measures undertaken by the State Government, including desilting, construction of farm ponds, steps towards drip irrigation, and ensuring adequate drinking water supply.
The meeting also discussed how best the period before the upcoming monsoon can be utilized for water conservation and recharge efforts. This includes efforts at desilting, recharging of rivers, check dams and other water storage mechanisms.
Drought-like conditions prevail in several states across the country with Maharashtra and Odisha being the worst affected.
People in the parched areas continued to suffer from the scarcity of water even as crops over hundreds of hectares of agricultural land have been severely affected.
Besides Maharashtra and Odisha, some parts of states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are experiencing severe water scarcity and drought-like conditions.