Concluding his three-day tour of the drought-stricken Marathwada region, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state government will do all that was needed to help the region tackle the crisis.
Visiting the districts of Beed, Parbhani and Nanded on Thursday, Fadnavis said the government will take measures possible to ensure adequate employment to drought-affected farmers.
Facing immense flak from the opposition for the slow pace of relief work, Fadnavis tried to present a brave face in areas ravaged by the acute scarcity. “The state government wants to understand and tackle the situation faced by you all and so, we are going from village to village listening to people’s problems.”
Adding on, he said, “Let us fight this situation together. We have to convert this crisis into opportunities and transform the present into a better future,” Fadnavis said.
Fadnavis said that the state government had planned projects in order to ensure employment to farmers who would have suffered losses due to the drought. “The Beed collector has planned at least 100 developmental works under government schemes, which would ensure employment for one lakh people,” he said.
Earlier, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had said that the state government was planning to change the norms of the employment guarantee scheme to ensure that project works on personal farms can also be carried out by farmers under the EGS.
The chief minister also said that the government would study the state’s rainfall patterns in order to decide the approach ahead of the state, in terms of water usage and cropping patterns. Fadnavis also reiterated his government’s decision on strengthening irrigation of farms by constructing a farm pond on almost every other farm.
NCP protests get stronger, Cong asks for special assembly session
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has decided to intensify protest against the Maharashtra government over the issue of drought. Alleging that the government has failed to offer respite to farmers, the party declared that jail bharo will be staged in Marathwada on September 14 and in Nashik and Ahmednagar a day later.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar held a meeting of the party leaders on Thursday and directed them to take an aggressive stand on the issues faced by the farmers. Party leaders were asked to tour the drought-affected districts and extend a helping hand. Pawar said that the state government has failed on all fronts and party leaders should expose it.
“Pawarsaheb personally participated in the protest on the farmers issues last month and toured the drought-hit areas. We are reiterating our demand for a complete loan waiver to the farmers. The government should also waive them from electricity bills and school fees immediately,” said Sunil Tatkare, state unit chief of NCP.
Meanwhile, Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, the leader of opposition in the state assembly, has demanded a special session of Assembly to discuss the agrarian crisis. He said that the drought-like situation is likely to get more intense in future and so the government needs to chalk a comprehensive mitigation plan.