SC pull up Centre, asks ‘are you waiting for states to declare drought’
New Delhi, Apr. 12: The Supreme Court on Tuesday continued its assault on the Centre over the state of acute drought in parts of the country asking the latter as to why they were not taking a call and waiting for the states to declare drought themselves. The Centre in reply, extolled virtues of federalism and that it cannot intervene in state government’s jurisdiction for declaring drought. Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P.S. Narsimha said that the state government has its own machinery to declare drought, adding that drought management centres have to be established across the country. The apex court further questioned the Centre asking if it has no role to play when states don’t declare drought to which the government’s counsel replied saying that it was a ‘federal’ structure and drought could not be declared by them. “We can't declare drought. There is a federal structure. They're democratically elected governments and Centre can't intervene,” the Centre’s counsel said. If there is a requirement of funds, funds have been given, like in all Central schemes. Additional funds have also been released in case of drought. The counsel asserted that if there was a requirement of funds, then it was given out like in all Central schemes and that additional funds have also been released in case of drought. Earlier, after receiving a rap from the apex court, the Centre released its share of funds of Rs 12,230 crore to the states for the rural job flagship scheme MGNREGA. The Supreme Court had pulled up the Centre for not releasing adequate funds to states for MGNREGA and asked it to give details of expenditure on the scheme in drought-hit states, saying relief has to be provided now and not after one year. Meanwhile, the ten railway wagons with five lakh litres of water which left from Miraj Junction railway station yesterday, reached the parched region of Latur in Marathwada region today. Lauding the Centre's move, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday said the Delhi Government is ready to offer 10 lakh litres of water every day for two months.