The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has condemned the state government for announcing drought only in 40 of the 358 Talukas and stated that as many as 839 of over 2000 revenue circles in the state are facing drought situation. They have also warned the state government of statewide protests if at least 700 more revenue circles are not included in the list of regions with drought conditions.
"While the agriculture department has given a report of over 50% drop in agro production in 24 out of 36 districts of the state and that 839 of over 2000 revenue circles in the state are facing a serious drought situation, the state government has announced drought only in 40 out of 357 talukas. This is sacrificing the poor rural population for the benefit of crop insurance companies by the BJP government in the state. AIKS condemns it," Rajendra Kshirsagar, State Secretary of AIKS said at Parbhani on Wednesday.
While explaining the problems with methodology in declaring drought, Kshirsagar said, "Earlier villages were considered as units for declaring droughts. But, while declaring drought Taluka as the base unit, the state government conveniently ignored important parameters like the water level in reservoirs, gap in two spells of rain and the drop in production." he also added that the Kharif sowings started very late and the rabbi sowings too haven't taken place dur to insufficient moisture in the soil at many places. "Average Rabi sowing area this year is not even 15 percent of the normal," he added.
The AIKS has also said that the drought announced by the state government is based on wrong assumptions and outdated criteria for drought set by the union government in 2016. Several states had rejected these criteria of the union government.
Kshirsagar said that in 2018, the then Fadnavis government in the state had done similar mistakes in announcing drought. "The AIKS had raised objections even back then and after the people's protests they had to include 981 more villages and 283 more revenue circles in the list of drought affected region," he added.
"People of Maharashtra are being fooled by applying criteria from states with perennial rivers like UttarPradesh and Haryana even though 145 talukas have received scares rains and are under dark clouds of drought," Kshirsagar said while criticizing the state government's approach to set up private climate centres at taluka levels instead of following the traditional method of crop output on village levels.