The Union and Maharashtra governments announced relief measures for drought-affected farmers in the state on Wednesday, which the Opposition and even the ruling parties termed as inadequate.
While the Centre approved Rs. 1,207 crore in relief, the state government sharpened its focus on resolving the potable water crisis that 8,000 villages in 15 districts are facing.
Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announced in the state legislature that 25% of the next budget will be allocated for increasing water resources, water conservation and distribution.
While the Opposition accused Chavan of not getting enough aid from the Centre, saying he no longer had influence with the Congress high command, the CM said he is hoping to get more funds — Rs. 2,200 crore — from the central government, especially for small irrigation projects.
An empowered group of ministers on drought, headed by Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, approved the aid on Wednesday.
The announcement came at a time when the state legislature was discussing the worsening drought situation.
About one third of Maharashtra is reeling under one of the worst droughts in its history owing to deficient rainfall last year.