Former Union Minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, on the first day of his two day visit to the flood ravaged villages in Marathwada, announced that he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next 10 days to press for substantial assistance from the central government. Pawar, at the outset, made it clear that there are limitations for the state government to provide aid. However, he urged the farmers, who were hit due to heavy rain and floods, not to lose patience but tackle the situation with unity.
Pawar, who has always been at the forefront to visit fields after such natural calamities, said, “We have to find a way out to face the crisis. Let's talk to the state and central government about this. Considering the nature of the damage, the state government alone cannot help.” His visit comes at a time when, of the 142 lakh hectares of land under kharif cultivation, nearly 50 lakh hectares has been severely damaged.
Pawar’s visit comes ahead of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s proposed visit to Solapur on October 19 and Osmanabad on October 21. Besides, opposition leaders in the state assembly and council Devendra Fadnavis and Praveen Darekar will also travel on Monday to the flood-hit villages.
Pawar went to the fields and inspected the damage caused to the standing crops. He also interacted with farmers and reiterated that he will take all efforts to get assistance from the government. “The crisis is going to destroy the agricultural economy. Let's overcome this crisis with unity,” said Pawar.
While interacting with farmers in Rajegaon this afternoon, Pawar recalled the earthquake in and around Killari in Latur district in September, 1992 and how he had reached there the next morning and assured assistance. “The government was able to provide relief and rehabilitate the earthquake-affected people there. The present crisis is similar to the earthquake. Crops are destroyed when there is a drought. However, in this crisis, the land is eroded, which is a big loss,” he noted.
Pawar said he will speak to CM Uddhav Thackeray for early assistance and lead a delegation of the members of the parliament (MPs) to meet the PM and seek assistance from the central government. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Water Resources Minister Jayant Patil, Social Justice Minister Dhananjay Munde and Minister of State for Public Work Sanjay Bansode also visited flood-affected villages. Similarly, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Wadettiwar, Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh, Minister of Home Satej Patil and Minister of Cooperation Vishwajeet Kadam visited few villages and assured the government’s assistance to the farmers.