The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), now in session at New Delhi, notes with grave concern that large parts of India have been reeling under severe drought conditions. According to Skymet (private weather monitoring agency) this is the second driest pre-Monsoon season in the last 65 years. In 2012 cumulative rainfall deficiency had risen to 31 per cent. This year it is reported that there is a lag of 25 per cent in the pre-Monsoon rains.
According to reliable early warning systems, it is estimated that more than 40 percent of the country's population or 500 million people are severely affected. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand and adjacent districts in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu are worst hit.
The water storage in dams has dropped to a critical level and the Centre has issued a drought advisory to some of these states. The State governments of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan have declared many of their districts as drought-hit. The Central Government led by BJP is not forthcoming in providing relief to states. The current extraordinary drought situation must be declared a national calamity and relief measures must be taken up on a war footing.
Severe scarcity of drinking water and fodder for livestock has created extreme distress and crop cultivation has been severely hit. Large-scale distress migration is taking place. Instances of starvation deaths are also being reported. The situation is going to further deteriorate. Central and concerned state governments must immediately release pending MNREGA wages, waive school fees and provide urgent relief.
The CPI(M) calls upon all its units to organize protest actions by uniting the people demanding concrete and appropriate measures and relief, along with democratic minded Kisan organizations and other mass organisations.