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Central team to visit drought-hit Kerala in April

Central team to visit drought-hit Kerala in April

New Delhi: A Central team will visit Kerala next month to evaluate the drought situation in the southern state, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan said here Tuesday.

Chandrasekharan along with state Agriculture minister V S Sunil Kumar met Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh and sought assistance for the drought-hit state.

"Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary of Agricultural ministry will lead the ten-member delegation to study the drought situation in Kerala," the Revenue Minister said.

As per the Centre's criteria, the state is eligible for an assistance of Rs 992.5 crore, said the ministers, adding that they have submitted a request to release the same.

"The state has already suffered an estimated loss of Rs 5,000 crore. Agricultural sector alone faced a loss of Rs 350 crore as per unofficial figures. But we could only request to release the eligible allocation of Rs 992.5 crore," Kumar said.

The state has also sought assistance in the form of free food grains and more employment days under the employment guarantee scheme.

Kerala was declared drought-hit on October 31, 2016 as the state received 34 per cent less rain during the monsoon and 62 per cent less rain during northeast monsoon that year.

The ministers also met Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Union Minister of State Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and sought assistance to initiate new projects in the agricultural sector of the state.

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