The drought situation in Maharashtra, with 6,250 villages officially being declared as drought-hit, has forced the government to dole out special subsidies and facilities to deal with the water scarcity.
Marathwada’s Jalna, Osmanabad, Buldhana and Aurangabad regions are among the worst-hit besides Dhule, Jalgaon and Nasik in North Maharashtra and Pune, Sangli and Solapur in Western Maharashtra.
While there is only 61% water left in the 2,468 water projects in the state, only 19% is left in reservoirs in Marathwada. Till now the state has spent around Rs. 1,000 crore to tackle the drought situation. An additional Rs. 400 crore contingency fund was announced last week.
A special subsidy has also been announced for villages under kharif in Maharashtra, which have paisewari (average yield per acre) less than 50paise, at the state cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The state government has decided to pay off 67% of their dues under the water supply schemes from April 2012. Of the 67%, the water supply department will bear 50% while the remaining 17% will be borne by the relief and rehabilitation department. The remaining 33% will have to be borne by the local villagers through grampanchayats.
As per present figures, 7,065 villages of Konkan, Pune, Nashik and Aurangabad divisions will benefit from the scheme. The final figures of Nagpur and Amravati divisions will be finalised by January 15.
As far as their dues before April 2012 are concerned, the government has already relaxed the payments by allowing them to pay it in 12 installments. The state has also reworked the price of fodder to Rs. 60 per big animal and Rs. 30 for smaller animals, applicable from January 1, 2013. There are 2.99 lakh animals that are being looked after at cattle camps for which the state has spent Rs. 181 crore.