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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Strong monsoon ends drought in Maharashtra

Dharmendra Jore , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, September 26, 2013
First Published: 08:33 IST(26/9/2013) | Last Updated: 08:37 IST(26/9/2013)

With the unexpected spell of rain in the last two weeks, a protracted drought, which left several districts bone dry for many months, appears to have finally come to a close.

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“Thanks to good rainfall in the last 15 days, the farmers could get fodder and water. In fact, many old village tanks in Jat and Aatpadi in Sangli districts that did not store water in two decades are now overflowing. That’s good news for us,” said relief secretary Milind Mhaiskar.

In fact, the state has already closed cattle shelters in Pune, Satara, Solapur and Sangli districts. “Hoping for good rains in September, we continued operating the remaining cattle shelters for yet another month. We had assumed that the drought might continue till next monsoon if rains eluded certain areas,” said Mhaiskar.

However, 122 villages and 494 hamlets continue to get water through tankers. Mhaiskar said that tankers were needed in these areas needed because they did not have pipelines to carry water from the source.

Such was the severity of the drought situation in 10,000 villages and towns in June-July this year that the central, western Maharashtra and parts of Vidarbha and north Maharashtra had an all-time high number of 5,500 water tankers in service.

All reservoirs in these regions had reached their dead stock level.

Looking back, the state government’s expenditure, on drought relief measures such as water, fodder supply and compensation to farmers, totals Rs5,000 crore since November 2011, according to Mhaiskar.

“In June-July, we spent Rs7.5 crore daily on providing fodder and water to 10 lakh cattle in the shelters,” said Mhaiskar. He said the Centre would reimburse half the total amount spent.

“A separate proposal is also being made for the World Bank and Planning Commission’s approval for taking long-term measures to tackle the drought situation,” he said.With the unexpected spell of rain in the last two weeks, a protracted drought, which left several districts bone dry for many months, appears to have finally come to a close.

“Thanks to good rainfall in the last 15 days, the farmers could get fodder and water. In fact, many old village tanks in Jat and Aatpadi in Sangli districts that did not store water in two decades are now overflowing. That’s good news for us,” said relief secretary Milind Mhaiskar.

In fact, the state has already closed cattle shelters in Pune, Satara, Solapur and Sangli districts. “Hoping for good rains in September, we continued operating the remaining cattle shelters for yet another month. We had assumed that the drought might continue till next monsoon if rains eluded certain areas,” said Mhaiskar.

However, 122 villages and 494 hamlets continue to get water through tankers. Mhaiskar said that tankers were needed in these areas needed because they did not have pipelines to carry water from the source.

Such was the severity of the drought situation in 10,000 villages and towns in June-July this year that the central, western Maharashtra and parts of Vidarbha and north Maharashtra had an all-time high number of 5,500 water tankers in service.

All reservoirs in these regions had reached their dead stock level.

Looking back, the state government’s expenditure, on drought relief measures such as water, fodder supply and compensation to farmers, totals Rs5,000 crore since November 2011, according to Mhaiskar.

“In June-July, we spent Rs7.5 crore daily on providing fodder and water to 10 lakh cattle in the shelters,” said Mhaiskar. He said the Centre would reimburse half the total amount spent.

“A separate proposal is also being made for the World Bank and Planning Commission’s approval for taking long-term measures to tackle the drought situation,” he said.


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