Chief Ministers of eleven states hit by drought were invited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. All of them were to meet PM Modi separately along with respective cabinet ministers. The main idea behind this meeting was to understand the steps taken by states to tackle drought and to review all those steps.
PM Modi met Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis and Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah to discuss current situation in their states. Centre and State governments have decided to work together so that the issue can be solved and to take care of the problems faced by people living in these states. Besides that, he also met some of the local bodies, NGOs and said that all of them should work together and fight the problem.
PM Narendra Modi clarified that it is the responsibility of states to make people aware about this issue and make sure that they use the water judiciously.
After meeting Akhilesh Yadav, Modi tweeted, “Had a productive meeting with 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.”
Maharashtra has been hit severely by water scarcity, even the reservoirs across the state registered lowest water levels, worsening the situation. Several water trains were sent by Centre as a relief to the drought hit state. Upon meeting the Maharashtra CM, Prime Minister told him that it is the duty of state government to focus on medium and long term solutions so that they are able to tackle drought in the different parts of the states. Modi also laid emphasis on the importance of the use of water efficiently.
An official statement from PMO mentioned, “The Prime Minister stressed on the use of technologies like remote sensing and satellite imaging for planning of water conservation and recharge structures. The need to change cropping patterns and fertigation for increasing water use efficiency was stressed. Prime Minister mentioned the need to monitor delivery of water through tankers in the affected area, using technology such as GPS.”
The meeting revolved around the efforts to utilize the coming monsoon. They talked about how the coming monsoon can be very useful for conserving water and how storage mechanisms should be used.
UP CM Akhilesh Yadav demanded Rs. 11,000 crore from Centre for effective drought mitigation measures. Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah briefed PM about the steps taken for water management and state government’s efforts to implement Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. He also sought additional Rs 12,272 crore funds for improving supply of drinking water and fodder, apart from already approved fund of Rs 723 crores.
Prime Minister said that we need to use a mix of both the traditional and modern methods if we want to save water. PM also asked NITI Aayog to develop an index to measure water conservation and management.