During his two-day visit to Madha, nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar criticised governor K Sankaranarayanan and chief minister Prithviraj Chavan for not doing enough for drought-prone areas in the state.
“People are facing water scarcity and animals are dying due to lack of fodder. The governor is not looking into the matter. I am highly disappointed,” Pawar said in an interview to a Marathi news channel.
Pawar said he had met the governor a month ago. Under section 371 (A) of the Constitution, the Maharashtra governor has special powers to make budgetary provisions for development works to remove backlog. “I requested him to tour drought-affected areas and talk to people. But nothing has happened,” said Pawar. Taking a dig at Chavan, Pawar said that the chief minister was not aware of the situation.
Meanwhile, Chavan visited drought-affected areas in Sangli district. “We have requested the Union agriculture ministry to send a team to see the severity of the condition. We also have asked the Centre for Rs700 crore for irrigation schemes,” he said at a farmers’ rally.
Chavan said that the state government had now empowered tehsildars to take immediate steps to tackle drought issues without approval from the district collector.