Observing that farmers in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra have suffered heavy losses due to excess rains, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday said the state government will avail loan to help cultivators in affected areas in the state if needed.
Speaking to reporters, Pawar said the crop and other losses may go up to Rs 4,000 crore in the Marathwada region alone.
The Maharashtra government had last week paid the instalment of Rs 974 crore as its contribution towards crop insurance and the Centre has to pay its share now, he said.
Pawar chaired a review meeting over the losses in the Marathwada region due to excess rainfall last month.
He said the state paid its share of crop insurance except in some areas because insurance companies have not helped farmers in those areas.
"Rain is still going on in some blocks in the Marathwada region. Once we get the figure of losses, we will not wait for aid from the Central government and help farmers. We shall do it even if we will have to opt for loans for farmers of Marathwada and other parts of Maharashtra," he said.
The state government has ordered insurance companies to pay for the losses suffered by farmers immediately, he said.
"The state has given Rs 550 crore for non-agriculture losses. This fund will be given as an aid for the damage caused to houses, loss of cattle and life," he said, adding that water-logging is a major barrier for teams trying to repair the electricity infrastructure in rural areas.
"The Maharashtra government has decided to distribute the aid as per the norms of the NDRF. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray will be updated about today's review meeting. Demand is raised to disburse more funds to district planning committees. A decision will be taken," the Deputy CM said.
Pawar said a meeting will be held between the Maharashtra irrigation minister and his counterpart from Telangana to discuss the issue of water-logging in Nanded due to backwaters of the Pochampad dam in the southern state.
"The Maharashtra government has decided to give interest-free loans to those farmers who will repay it in time this time. This timely repayment is not possible now as farmers have lost their crops. The government is planning to restructure the pending debt of farmers and make them eligible to avail of the new loan. A decision on declaring wet drought in the Marathwada will be taken after holding discussions," Pawar added.
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