After Pawar’s jibe, governor holds meeting to review drought | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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After Pawar’s jibe, governor holds meeting to review drought

After being prodded and ticked off by the Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, governor K Sankaranarayanan on Monday called for a meeting of concerned ministers and officials over the drought in the state.

mumbai Updated: Apr 10, 2012 01:14 IST
HT Correspondent

After being prodded and ticked off by the Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, governor K Sankaranarayanan on Monday called for a meeting of concerned ministers and officials over the drought in the state. The governor also held a meeting with the chief minister Prithviraj Chavan late evening for over an hour and discussed the situation.

Around nine districts are facing water scarcity spanning 7,555 villages in western Maharashtra, Marathwada and North Maharashtra. The overall water storage in reservoirs has reduced from 51 % last year to 37 % this year. Sources said that a special package on the drought was likely to be announced for the affected districts.

Relief and rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam, who was present at the meeting said, “I asked the governor to increase budgetary allocation to drought prone regions, since the overall situation is serious.” Kadam hails from Sangli, which is severely affected by drought.

An official statement from Raj Bhavan did not make mention of any special package for a drought but said that the governor took an overall review of the relief measures and expressed satisfaction at the steps taken.

At the meeting relief and rehabilitation secretary Pravin Pradeshi pointed out that 728 tankers had been pressed in service, 54 fodder depots had been set up, 55,217 works under employment guarantee scheme had been set up. Cooperation minister Harshawardhan Patil said, “Chavan has written to the Centre calling for a team to assess the drought situation in the state to provide aid. The team is expected to visit by next week.”

Pawar had slammed the governor for not touring the drought-prone districts to verify the situation on ground before announcing the budgetary allocation for irrigation and water projects for this year.

Maharashtra is the only state in the country where the governor has been given powers to allocate this budget in a bid to make up for the backlog to backward regions of Vidarbha and Marathwada. The special powers were granted since critics had said political leadership hailing from western Maharashtra had consistently ignored backward regions and diverted funds for their own region.

“This allocation will not change now, but the governor has powers to ask the state to provide additional funds to these districts,” said a senior bureaucrat.