Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said the government will request the Centre for financial assistance of Rs 7,000 crore to help in drought mitigation, PTI reported. A proposal will be sent to the Union government on Wednesday, he said.
On October 31, the state government had declared drought in 151 talukas across 26 districts. Of these talukas, 112 are facing “severe drought” and 39 “medium drought”. The state has 355 talukas, of which 182 were declared drought-prone on October 24.
Since the drought was declared in October, the central funds are expected to be received by January next year, said Fadnavis.
In its proposal, the state government has mentioned that the funds will be used to pay farmers’ crop loans, arrange fodder for animals, and for drinking water purposes. “We will also request the Centre to expedite the process of sending a Central team to assess the drought situation and submit its report,” said Fadnavis.
The chief minister said his government has already started implementing drought-relief measures in the areas that were most affected, Livemint reported. These include a 33% concession in electricity charges for agriculture, a total waiver of education fees for school and college students of the 151 talukas, and a higher allocation of work under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
Fadnavis on Tuesday toured the drought-affected areas in the Marathwada region. Eight of the 26 affected districts are in Vidarbha region, another eight in Marathwada, five in north Maharashtra, four in western Maharashtra and one in the Konkan region.
In the talukas where “severe drought” has been declared, more than 60% of crops have been damaged, while more than 33.5% crops have been damaged in talukas facing “moderate drought”, reported Hindustan Times.