Photo: PTI
Photo: PTI

The Maharashtra Government on Friday announced a Rs 10,000 crore package for relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure in flood-affected districts. To help farmers and villages hit hard by the untimely rains and floods from June to October, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, at a meeting with ministers and bureaucrats, announced that the state government had decided to go beyond the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) norms.

So, farmers will be given an assistance of Rs 10,000 per hectare for arable and non-arable land; up to two hectares, as against Rs 6,800 per hectare; it will be Rs 25,000 per hectare up to a limit of two hectares for horticulture/fruit cultivation, as against Rs 18,000 per hectare. This is higher than the NDRF norms.

Thackeray said assistance would be provided to the heirs of the deceased, for dead livestock and for house demolition, as per the norms. He further added, the government was doing this in the face of revenue shortfall and without waiting for Central aid.

The state government has focused on the reconstruction of infrastructure which has been severely hit due to heavy rains and floods. Of the Rs 10,000 crore, Rs 5,500 crore will be provided to the agriculture sector, Rs 2,665 crore for roads and bridges, Rs 300 crore to the urban development department, Rs 239 to the state power distribution utility MahaVitaran and energy department, Rs 102 crore to the water resources department and Rs 1,000 crore for rural roads and water supply department.

The CM clarified that the damage inflicted on roads, bridges, electricity infrastructure, water supply schemes, houses, schools, primary health centres, gram panchayat buildings and agricultural lands would be repaired using these funds.

Thackeray said he had directed the ministers and the district administration to ensure that assistance be disbursed to farmers and villages before Diwali. He took a dig at the opposition for criticising the government. He called upon the opposition to refrain from politicising the relief and rehabilitation works, saying levelling charges against the government would not bring farmers any relief.

He further said, as the Shiv Sena president, he would counter the opposition charges at the party’s Dussehra rally.

Thackeray said the state government had sent reminders to the Centre to send teams to evaluate the damage but there has been no response so far.

State yet to get Rs 38,000 cr in GST dues from Centre: Thackeray said, despite repeated reminders, the Centre was yet to pay Rs 38,000 crore in GST arrears to the state. Although the government had sent reminders, the Central Government had not yet cleared these dues.

He noted that the state government had also sought Rs 1,065.58 crore as Central assistance to help villagers affected by Cyclone Nisarga. “The Centre has not yet provided any aid but the state government has spent from its kitty,’’ he informed.

Yet another proposal, seeking Rs 800.88 crore as compensation for villagers affected by heavy rains in East Vidarbha, too has received no response, the chief minister said.

CM informed that the state government since November last year till now has spent from its resources Rs 30,800 crore, of which Rs 9,800 crore is towards relief measures in districts affected by natural calamities and Rs 21,000 crore on farm loan waiver scheme.

In the current pandemic, Thackeray said the state government, despite a cash crunch, had spent on containment measures. “The state government is bearing an additional burden of Rs 300 crore after the Centre stopped supplying N-95 masks and PPE kits.”

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