Chandigarh: The Punjab government has not yet declared drought in the state despite witnessing the "worst monsoon failures" this season, a senior official said on Friday.

"We have not declared drought at the moment (in the state)," Punjab Principal Secretary (Revenue) N S Kang told here.

The state has witnessed 68 percent deficient monsoon this season, with several districts facing over 90 percent less rain. The most affected districts have been Moga (96 per cent deficit), Ferozepur (98 percent), Fatehgarh Sahib (90 percent), Mansa (82 percent) and Muktsar (66 percent), an official of Punjab Agriculture Department said here.

However, despite deficient rain, acreage under paddy -- the main kharif crop -- has not shrunk against the target as it has touched the mark of 28 lakh hectares so far.

Punjab, known as food bowl of the country, contributes 30 percent of rice into central pool. Though, area under cotton reached only 4.95 lakh hectares against the target of 5.20 lakh hectares.

The state government had sought financial assistance of Rs 5,112 crore from the Centre to bail out the state from the adverse impact of "weather-driven" crisis.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had even dubbed the current weather conditions as "one of the worst monsoon failures", while seeking the central package from the government.

During his visit to Chandigarh on August 10, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had said that Punjab and Haryana could get more financial relief from the Centre if they announce states as drought affected.

"There are many other suggestions (more funds) which are made by both states, there is a precondition that states have to announce drought. Announcement of drought is the power of the state governments.

"The moment the states announce drought they automatically there are many financial support schemes to help the states," he had said.

During his visit along with Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, he had even assured to announce financial support to farmers and rescheduling of agriculture loans.

Ramesh had announced to provide financial assistance for drinking water supply, NREGA and Integrated Watershed scheme.


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