New Delhi: the Supreme Court on Wednesday reprimanded three states that they are heedless about the Drought. The Court remarked that these states lacked the will to even admit to the drought-like situation in their jurisdictions. Supreme Court said that states had taken an “ostrich-like attitude” towards the calamity, and called on the central government to set up a drought fund.
More than 330 million people – almost a quarter of the country's population – have been hit by water shortages in 13 states, including Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and Karnataka.
The Supreme Court today directed the Union Agriculture Secretary to hold a meeting with Chief Secretaries of Haryana, Bihar and Gujarat in a week to review the “apparent” drought situation in the three states. Further, Court asked the centre to use modern technology for early determination of drought and take into account humanitarian factors such as migration, suicides and the plight of women and children while formulating policies.
“The problem is not lack of resources or capability, but the lack of will,” said the bench comprising justices Madan B. Lokur and N.V. Ramana.
A petition filed by Swaraj Abhiyan, a Delhi-based non-profit group, said that India's current method of declaring drought was unscientific, archaic and arbitrary and states had, as a result, failed to recognize the drought as a natural disaster. The drought has caused crop failures, water shortages and excessive debt, prompting hundreds of families across the country to flee villages in search of food, water and jobs.