The state government on Thursday decided to ask the Centre for Rs4,500 crore relief package for drought-hit farmers.
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, meanwhile, continued to criticise the Devendra Fadnavis-led government saying it needed to take immediate steps to control the situation. Uddhav and a delegation of Sena legislators met governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao and requested him to tour the affected regions. They urged him to direct the state government to declare Marathwada and Vidarbha as drought-hit.
After the state Cabinet meeting, Fadnavis said they had decided to ask the Centre’s help for farmers suffering in Marathwada. “The Centre has waived off the condition of carrying out panchanamas in all 19,000 affected villages, and so the process will be completed in two days,” he said.
He added there was no compulsion for farmers of Vidarbha and Marathwada to pay their power bills, and their connections will not be cut for defaulting on payments. He also announced a waiver of school fees for Class 10 and 12 students appearing for exams in the current academic year.
Uddhav, meanwhile, asked the governor to invoke Article 371 (2) of the Constitution, which allows him to direct the state government to declare both Marathwada and Vidarbha regions as drought-hit.
“The situation in Marathwada is very bad and some immediate decisions need to be taken. Twenty-five-year olds are committing suicide. The state government should immediately do something and give immediate relief of Rs10,000 each,” Uddhav said after the meeting.
Leader of Opposition Eknath Shinde criticised the chief minister, saying the government should clarify what help it can give from the state coffers.
“After the memorandum reaches the Centre, a team from Delhi will come to do a ground survey and then they will decide the amount to be actually released. All this will take 8-10 days and there might be more suicides in that time,” Shinde told reporters.