The visit by the Central team to drought-affected areas in Maharashtra has come under fire, with a leading farmers' activist Kishor Tiwari on Wednesday terming it a "farce" and claimed it was "undertaken in a tearing hurry".
"Thousands of farmers were waiting for arrival of the Central team in Yavatmal since afternoon yesterday (Tuesday). The team completed the visit in 10 minutes at some places and at some other places, it finished the inspection in darkness," Tiwari, leader of the Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJS), an NGO which tracks farmer suicides, told PTI.
"At some places, the team members did not interact with the drought-affected farmers but just waved and proceeded to the next spot. This is nothing but a farce," he said.
Observing that the drought in Marathwada is "much more serious" than in Vidarbha, Tiwari claimed there was a "systemic failure" in tackling it and expressed the need to rectify the same.
"The team's approach was casual. At some places, they visited spots in utter darkness. How can we expect them to do justice to the task," he said.
In many of the 14 villages visited by them, they did not meet anyone. So, how can one have an idea about what they wrote in their review report, the activist said.
The team, which arrived in Maharashtra on December 14, had spent the last two days visiting the various affected areas in Marathwada and Vidarbha, before meeting senior state government officials today.
After holding a meeting with officials from Aurangabad, Amravati and Nashik revenue divisions on December 15, a team visited Aurangabad, Beed, Osmanabad and Latur districts, while another visited Jalna, Buldhana, Washim, Yavatmal and Amravati districts.
In Hadgaon village of Akola district, villagers waited for the team which was scheduled to interact with them but the officials skipped the village and went to Murtujapur. The visit at Murtujapur was scheduled at 2 pm but the team reached the village at dusk.
Akol Zilla Parishad member Ravindra Gopkar said the central team was scheduled to reach Hadgaon and villagers were waiting for them since 10 am. "But the team did not reach the village even by 7 pm. I went to Malkapur to meet them and apprise them of the situation in Hadgaon but it seems they did not hear me properly."