Nation Current Affairs 11 May 2016 SC finds fault with ...

SC finds fault with Gujarat's drought assessment system

PTI
Published May 11, 2016, 9:34 pm IST
Updated May 11, 2016, 9:35 pm IST
The bench also said that the system followed by Gujarat in assessing such a situation did not meet the manual or guidelines.
Supreme Court of India. (Photo: PTI)
 Supreme Court of India. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The drought assessment system of Gujarat government on Wednesday came under sharp attack from the Supreme Court whic said that the state did not opt for early declaration of drought and rather chose the route which was "palliative and relief-centric".

"The purpose of an early declaration of drought is preventive but the route taken by Gujarat is palliative and relief-centric. Risk assessment and risk management gives way, in Gujarat, to crisis management. This is hardly of any advantage to those whose distress can be avoided," a bench comprising Justices M B Lokur and N V Ramana said.

 

The bench also said that the system followed by Gujarat in assessing such a situation did not meet the manual or guidelines and expressed displeasure over its response in declaring drought in several parts.

"The system followed by Gujarat clearly does not meet with the approval of the Manual or the Guidelines. As noticed above, drought was declared in 526 villages in Gujarat only on 1st April, 2016, and in 468 villages thereafter. As per the Manual and the Guidelines, this is clearly too late for those in distress," it said.

The apex court also said that it was known in October 2015  that several districts in the state were facing varying degrees of drought "yet, no preparatory steps appear to have been taken to tackle a possible disaster."

 

It also expressed displeasure over the response of the state which declared drought in 994 villages only last month.

"Ironically, towards the fag end of the hearing, Gujarat finally admitted the existence of a drought in five districts a fact that could have been admitted much earlier," the bench said, adding "but at least, it is better late than never."

"Perhaps more areas in Gujarat might need to be declared as drought-hit," it said.

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