In the wake of drought in parts of Gujarat, the state government Monday sought financial assistance of Rs 17.25 billion from the Centre to carry out various relief works in the affected regions.
The demand was put forward before a central team visiting Gujarat since the last three days to assess the water scarcity situation which has arisen due to scanty rainfall this monsoon, said Additional Chief Secretary, revenue, Pankaj Kumar.
He said the nine-member central team, comprising officials from various ministries, had visited Kutch, Morbi, Banaskantha, Patan and Surendranagar districts during the three-day tour.
The team Monday held a meeting with Chief Secretary J N Singh and other key officials of the Gujarat government at Gandhinagar upon the completion of their assessment tour.
Kumar told reporters the state government's estimates suggests that a total of Rs 29 billion will be needed to carry out various relief works in the drought-affected regions.
"We have so far declared 3,367 villages of 51 taluka in the state as drought affected. The central team had visited five affected districts during the last three days and held a meeting with Chief Secretary today," Kumar told reporters in Gandhinagar after the meeting.
"Our estimates suggests that we would need Rs 29 billion in total to carry out various relief works in affected regions. Looking at the funds available with us under SDRF (State Disaster Relief Fund) and norms governing it, we would need additional Rs 17.25 billion," said Kumar.
He said the team had given a "positive response" on the demand of central assistance of Rs 17.25 billion put forward by the state government.
"This fund will be utilised in paying input subsidies to farmers, providing drinking water to people, for opening cattle camps, providing assistance to cattle shelters and to distribute fodder in affected regions," the IAS officer said.
He said the state government is "confident" of getting central assistance soon.
Gujarat had received just 73.87 per cent of the average rainfall this monsoon.
Kutch had received just 26.51 per cent of average rainfall, while north Gujarat got 42.93 per cent, central Gujarat 66.83 per cent, Saurashtra 72.20 per cent and south Gujarat got the highest of 94.79 per cent, according to Met department figures.