Centre, states face criticism in courts

Apr 15, 2016

New Delhi: The impact of two consecutive years of deficit rainfall-damaged crops and barren farms-is rapidly developing into a full-blown water crisis as the country prepares for the onset of a summer that is expected to be marked by frequent heat waves and higher-than-normal temperatures. 

The matter reached two courts of law where judges upbraided authorities at the centre and in states for what they said was their failure to take adequate measures to remedy the drought situation, and for the "criminal wastage" of scarce water for cricket matches.The court's strong observations came during a hearing on a public interest litigation filed by Swaraj Abhiyan, a non-profit group, seeking relief for drought-hit regions in the country. The plea sought a timely disbursement of crop loans, drought compensation, help in procurement of subsidized cattle fodder and formulation of an integrated water policy. The agriculture ministry told Parliament on 4 March that 2,806 farmers had committed suicide in 2015 due to "agrarian reasons." Maharashtra recorded the highest number of suicides (1,841), followed by Punjab (449), Telangana (342), Karnataka (107) and Andhra Pradesh (58).

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