There is no migration of villagers because of the drought situation, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan insisted on Sunday, adding that and the government would ensure people did not have to leave their villages. He said everybody would be given food at affordable prices, cattle camps were being allotted wherever demanded and water was being supplied through tankers.
Chavan said there was no need to shut down water bottling plants either. He said the government was tapping every source of water to fight the scarcity but there was no need to shut down these plants. He said drought was not a new phenomenon for the state and the government knew how to tackle it.
Congress leader and agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had written a letter to the chief minister a few months ago and demanded packaged drinking water plants in Marathwada be shut down because of water scarcity.
Chavan, who has been claiming so far that there was no need for donations from private players, made an appeal to NGOs, private players in industries and people, to contribute to the chief minister’s calamity relief fund.
Chavan was speaking at a press conference convened after the customary tea party ahead of the budget session that starts in the city on Monday. The Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena boycotted the tea party. Earlier in the day, the BJP and Sena criticised the government for its wrongdoings. “The irrigation scam and the government’s unwillingness to come clean on it, the infighting between the NCP and the Congress and their efforts to cover up corruption has forced us to boycott the tea party,” said Opposition leader in the Assembly Eknath Khadse.
“We’ll take the government head-on at the session,” he said. Khadse alleged central funds for drought were mainly given to certain districts. He said of 40 ministers, 18 had legal cases against them including Chavan, who has a land grab case in his name.