Maha stares at acute water scarcity, State govt steps in

Mumbai : The state has received only 53% of the average rainfall this year while 93% of sowings for the Kharif have been completed. The reservoirs across the state have only 48% water of their total storage capacity, the state cabinet was told here on Tuesday.

Marathwada is the worst affected region of the state, the cabinet was told. As many as 19 districts, primarily from the Konkan and the Western Maharashtra region, have received 51% to 75% of the average rainfall. Nashik, Solapur, Beed, Osmanabad, Kolhapur, Latur and Parbhani are the 7 districts where rainfall is between 26% to 50%, the cabinet was told. Ironically, most of the districts in Vidarbha have received more than 75% or even 100% of their yearly average rainfall till now.

Of all the 355 talukas of the state, 33 have received more than 100% of the average rainfall while 5 have received less than 25% of rains this year. 150 have received between 51 and 75% of rain while 70 have received between 76 and 100% of the average rainfall, the cabinet was told. Total 97 talukas have received between 26 and 50% of average rainfall.

Reservoirs across the state are left with 48% of the storage capacity. Last year the state had 62% storage. The worst situation is in Marathwada where only 8% of water is left as compared to 19% last year. The condition in other regions is as follows – Konkan 82 (89), Nagpur 70 (65), Amrawati 61 (48), Nashik 41 (58) and Pune 50 (78) where figures in bracket indicate the level of water in reservoirs last year around the same date.

Total 1,501 villages and 2,677 dwellings are being supplied water with the help of 1,901 tankers. The number has increased compared to last year when there were 1,524 tankers. The employment guarantee schemes are providing employment to 92,908 people with 12,643 works. There are over 4.38 lakh works under consideration and they have a capacity to employ over 1.2 crore people, the cabinet was told.

The state would need at least three to four good showers in the last leg of the monsoon to help save the Kharif crops, officials informed the cabinet.

After a review of the measures taken for drought relief, the cabinet also decided to grant soft loans to sugar mills to help them pay cane growers as per the FRP.

It was also decided in the meeting that a soft loan scheme for sugar factories should be implemented to enable them pay fair and remunerative price (FRP) to sugarcane growers. FRP is the minimum price to be paid by the sugar mills to the cane growers. Under the scheme, loans of Rs 187.76 crore would be available for eligible mills, the statement said.

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