The Government has already handed over eight water bowsers to the Sri Lankan authorities and the consignment of rice would be delivered soon.
“In response to a request from the Government of Sri Lanka for drought relief assistance, Government of India has announced the decision to provide 8 water bowsers and 100 metric tonnes of rice to Sri Lanka. The supply of these items is in the nature of emergency assistance to augment relief measures undertaken in the wake of severe drought faced by Sri Lanka,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told Parliament in a written reply.
The lorry-mounted water bowsers were given to the Government of Sri Lanka on March 21. “India has always been among the first to respond to requests from the neighbouring countries in times of crisis. The current gifting of the water bowsers and rice is part of that policy,” Swaraj added.
Sri Lanka is suffering from the worst drought in 40 years with over a million people facing acute water shortages. The Island country has experienced prolonged dry season with some districts having 60-70 percent less rainfall. The local wells and reservoirs are running dry.
The harvest of rice is going to be hit due to water shortage and the prospect of rice shortage later this year is looming large. The Sri Lankan Government has also taken slew of measures to contain the fallout of the rice shortage. It has already waived off taxes on rice imports and is expected to increase rice imports to meet the demand at home.
Water shortage has also compounded problems for the energy sector of the country that depends on hydro-power. (Colombo Gazette)