Declaration comes when 11 out of 36 districts of Maharashtra have received only 26-50% of the average rainfall this season
Mumbai : Due to delayed rains and depleting water levels, the sate cabinet resolved to declare a drought-like situation in almost one third of the state.
“The cabinet has decided to declare drought-like situation in 123 out of 355 blocks in the 36 districts of the state,” Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said while addressing media after the cabinet meeting. “The decision has been made considering blocks as the basis instead of districts, which had been the normal procedure till now,” he added.
The provisions under the drought-like condition include a 33% concession on farm pump electricity bills, exemption from exam fees of the students in the region, exemption from the agricultural tax etc.
“The region of Marathwada, including Buldhana, Washim and Yavatmal district of Maharahtra has received below 50% rainfall. Currently, there is only 61% water storage in the state reservoirs compared to last year’s 73%, while the Marathwada region has only 19% water storage left,” Chavan said.
“The state has received 68% of the average rainfall of the month of August till now. Whereas, 18 districts have witnessed less than 50% rainfall,” the cabinet was told.
However, the opposition party BJP while welcoming the decision said that it is ‘inadequate’. Leader of opposition in state legislative council Vinod Tawde said, “The decision regarding 123 blocks is welcome, but it is highly inadequate. If the government really wants to help the people out there, they should completely waive off the electricity bills of farmers in the region and declare a relief of Rs 10,000 per hectare for re-sowing of seeds. The government should also waive off the agro loans and reissue fresh loans to needy farmers.”
Out of 36 districts of the state, 11 districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha have received only 26-50% of the average rainfall of the season, while 10 others have received 51-75% of the average rainfall.
Only 12 districts in the state have received adequate rainfall i.e. over 75% of the seasonal average.
Almost all the political parties have resorted to some or the other kind of agitation in Marathwada and parts of Vidarbha to declare drought. Minister Rajesh Tope raised voice on the issue in the cabinet meeting.
While, NCP workers in Parbhani had taken out a ‘Pad Yatra’ against the government. BJP state president Devendra Fadnavis had made the demand to declare drought in state. Tawde also demanded the same at a public meeting in Beed earlier on Wednesday.