Kochi: The Kerala government has sought a financial assistance of Rs 991 crore from the Centre to deal with the severe drought situation in the state, officials said
on Wednesday.

State government officials, led by Additional Chief Secretary P H Kurian, met the 10 member central government team which arrived here to take stock of the drought situation in various districts.

"We have sought an assistance of Rs 991 crore from the central government to deal with the situation. A proposal in this regard has already been submitted," Kurian told PTI.

A team of state government officials briefed the visiting team about the impact of drought in various sectors, including agriculture and rural life.

The team comprised senior officials from various departments of the central government and Niti Ayog. They will visit various districts in two groups.

One group of officials, headed by joint secretary of Union agriculture ministry, Ashwani Kumar, will study the extent of damage to people, crops and soil due to the severe drought in districts including Palakkad, Malappuram and Wayanad.

Another team, led by Niti Ayog Deputy Advisor Manesh Chowdhary, is to take stock of the drought situation in three other districts, including Thrissur, Ernakulam and
Thiruvananthapuram. The team is expected to wind up their visit tomorrow.

 Later, they will visit Thiruvananthapuram to hold discussions with the state government authorities. Kerala had declared itself drought-hit on October 31 last
year, as the state received less rain during the South West monsoon and northeast monsoon season in 2016.

Kerala Disaster Management Authority had recommended declaration of drought in all districts in view of less rain during the monsoon season.

Meanwhile, the Union Ministry of Rural Development has permitted Kerala to provide up to 150 days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to assist the rural poor affected by the drought. PTI