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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Oppn wants govt to declare drought

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 13, 2013
First Published: 01:33 IST(13/3/2013) | Last Updated: 01:34 IST(13/3/2013)

The opposition parties launched a scathing attack on the Congress-led government on Tuesday alleging that it has failed to tackle a serious drought situation in the state. Initiating a debate on the issue in the state legislature, they wanted the government to change the norms so that the state gets more funds from the Centre.

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Opposition leader in the assembly Eknath Khadse said that the state could get more grants from the Centre if it declared drought in the state. He claimed that the state government has been insisting on the word 'scarcity', which does not meet the conditions the Centre had laid down for sanctioning additional grants.

All the speakers, including those from the ruling alliance, called for a long-term planning to get over the water scarcity problem. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan will reply to the debate on Wednesday.

Khadse told the house that water scarcity is likely to trigger a law-and-order situation in the state.

“People don’t have water to drink and animals don't have fodder to eat. The people are very angry with your lame approach,” he said.

“Some farmers have even committed suicide.”

Khadse asked for several measures that he said would give relief to affected people in 14 districts of the state. He wanted the government to pay for education fee of students who are pursuing professional courses like medicine and engineering, and more compensation to farmers.

Nationalist Congress Party’s senior member Shashikant Shinde asked for introspection and review of planning at the government level.

“We can replicate the models that have been successful in regions where drought is persistent.”

The scene was no different in the legislative council. While the opposition benches blamed the Congress-NCP for the crisis, the ruling parties sought to shift the blame on officials.

Shiv Sena’s Ramdas Kadam blamed corruption.

“People are migrating out of villages as the state is unable to provide them basic facilities, and nothing is being done to stop them,” he said.

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