Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party leader and minister for water supply and sanitation Babanrao Lonikar once again made a controversial statement. He blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not including sevaral talukas and villages in drought-hit list announced by the state government. Addressing sugarcane farmers rally at Partur in Jalna district during the onset of sugar crushing season, Lonikar claimed that the survey to finalise list of drought-prone villages and talukas was conducted on August 17 over satellite.
“We are not aware what (PM Narendra) Modi thinks and what will he do. He sent a satellite to review the situation of drought over our district on August 17. We are unfortunate as there was rainfall in parts of our district on August 15 and 16 and the satellite focused over our district the next day. It has recorded greenery due to rainfall of previous day and hence, we were not included in the list,” claimed the minister.
He further said, “This time, Modi did not take any responsibility of informing the district collector, tehsildar and even to guardian minister to short list the names of drought-affected talukas. In fact, every taluka in Marathwada region has recorded rainfall below 33 per cent. But, the satellite of Modi did the job of us and that is why many talukas across the state are eliminated from the list.”
He further said that due to satellite report, we do not have option to get relief fund from the Centre. But we can ask chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to assist our drought-prone areas. The minister further claimed chief minister do not have the right to announce drought. “People are demanding to declare drought. But, according to Indian Constitution by Dr Babasahab Ambedkar, CM can only announce scarcity of water and not drought. The scarcity will be announced by October 30,” claimed Lonikar.
Dhananjay Munde, leader of opposition in legislative council said, “The procedure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to announce drought-hit areas are against farmers welfare and in favour of insurance companies. “That is why lakhs of farmers stayed away from the benefit of schemes that are applicable in drought-prone areas,” he said.