Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress president on Friday criticised Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for “failing” to ensure effective drought relief measures in the state.
Addressing a press conference, Chavan said Fadnavis should come out of his “air conditioned office and use of technology” to oversee drought relief measures and asked him to tour the state instead to know people’s hardships. He was referring to the “audio bridge technology” that Fadnavis uses to get updates on the drought on his mobile phone.
Chavan, a former CM, also targeted Fadnavis for making it mandatory for cattle camps to use software produced by a particular company for bar-coding and tagging animals there. Chavan also said TDS has been deducted on GST levied to procure fodder in cattle camps. “This was found by our committee which traveled in drought affected areas to see if whether relief measures are being implemented,” he said.
Chavan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared Jalyukt Shivar programme a success and 16,000 villages have become water neutral, and went on ask how the drought happened in that case. “How did the drought happen, if the scheme was a success? Where has the money spent for the scheme gone? It was said that Rs 4,300 crore has been given by the Centre for drought relief.
The state government should give district-wise breakup of how this money has been spent,” he said. Chavan said as per the report prepared by the party’s committee which toured drought affected areas in the last ten days, people have to pay Rs 4000 per big water tankers and Rs 2000 for each small tanker.
“Without much delay, the government should give Rs one lakh per hectare for horticulture farmers in drought areas and Rs 50,000 per hectare for crop loss in dryland areas,” Chavan said. “Tankers for drinking water are not supplied regularly is one of the complaints of the local people. Water quality is also extremely poor,” he said.
Chavan said drought in the state has been very severe and due to lack of planning by the Fadnavis government, people were suffering. He said farmer suicides were a black spot on the state’s history. Chavan said the Congress would send its drought report to the chief minister.