After more than a month of little or no rain, many scarcity-hit areas of the arid Marathwada region received considerable rainfall on Tuesday. The rain, after a prolonged dry spell, has brought renewed hope that the region might recover from the crippling water shortage it is experiencing at present.
Parbhani, for instance, saw a significant 25.3mm rainfall while Osmanabad, severely affected, saw 16.5mm rainfall on a single day, which is nearly half the amount of rainfall for the entire month of September so far.
Latur, again a severely-affected district, saw 13.2mm of rainfall on Tuesday, easing its water woes by a small but significant measure. Similarly, Nanded also saw 12.1mm of rainfall on Tuesday.
The region has been receiving spells of rainfall for the past three days now, the heaviest on Tuesday. The situation has now made many hopeful that some sustained spells of rainfall may make the cultivation of rabi crop possible.
The significant rainfall made chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who took off for Japan on Tuesday morning, tweet his gratitude for the rainfall.
A day after it declared 69 talukas of the state as facing a drought-like situation, the state rolled out yet another scheme to ensure employment to areas suffering from scarcity.
State agriculture minister Eknath Khadse directed the agriculture department to bring nearly 1-lakh hectares under fruit cultivation. Khadse said the department must carry out these works through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
“We need to make adequate arrangements so that farmers have alternative sources of income. This will help alleviate the burden of debt and will ensure that the state benefits too,” Khadse said.
The state government had earlier said it would construct farm ponds and provide other farm-related infrastructure on individual farms through the NREGA and state employment guarantee scheme.