New Delhi: Union Minister Uma Bharati on Wednesday asked states to find long-term solution to tackle drought and gave them the assurance of providing whatever help is required in fighting such a calamity.
"You (states) should be ready for this kind of situation. You should be prepared. To fight drought, preparations can be made in advance. We should find long-term solution and not adhoc," she said during 'India Water Forum' organised by The Energy and Research Institute (TERI) in New Delhi.
The Union water resources minister said she is aware of the crisis situation in the country and observed that India is suffering due to climate change.
She also expressed concerns that prosperous states like Haryana and Punjab have "abused" groundwater and most of their blocks now fall under dark zones - highly exploited areas considered as beyond 'critical' stage.
"More than 70 per cent of their blocks are falling under dark zones now. States like Telangana and Maharashtra have reported water-deficit situations earlier too. But Punjab and Haryana tell us a tragic story," the minister said.
Ms Bharati said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked all central ministries to help the states in distress in whatever way possible.
"India had witnessed tough times in the past but managed to survive due to its strong spirit," she said, adding that India will overcome the current situation too.
On Ganga cleaning, the minister said till now, it was a tale of how a holy river was destroyed, but the NDA government will ensure that it is a "story of how a river can be saved".
She said there is no dispute over river-linking project and the initiative will help use surplus water from flooding regions to dry ones.
Ms Bharati also lauded the government for increasing the budget from Rs. 60 crore to Rs. 6,000 crore for improving groundwater levels.