Demand to declare Jharkhand famine-hit

Ranchi: Major political parties today demanded that Jharkhand be declared a famine-hit state in view of crop loss following deficient rainfall.

"It is not drought. The entire state is in the grip of famine-like situation," JMM leader Hemant Soren told a news conference, reacting to the recent announcement that twelve of the 24 districts were drought-hit.

"We will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh within a week to demand Jharkhand be declared famine-hit, and not drought-hit. Farmers have not got their crop insurance and by the time relief measures reach them, farmers might have migrated to other states," he added.

A Congress delegation headed by PCC President, Pradeep Kumar Balmachu met Governor M O H Farooq and also demanded to declare the state as famine-hit at the earliest.

The Congress listed several demands including, strengthening of the public distribution system, stepping up relief work and distribution of Rs 135 crore to farmers covered under crop insurance.

The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric) and the BJP have already made similar demand.

AJSU demanded an all party meeting to discuss the 'grave famine-like situation' in the state.