Faced with a drought-like situation in the central and western parts of the state, the Maharashtra government is likely to make a demand for a Rs. 5,700-crore drought package to the central team led by Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, who will be visiting the state to study the rainfall deficit and water scarcity situation on Wednesday.
Over 11,000 villages in 145 talukas of Maharashtra are facing a drought-like situation, as compared to 7,500 villages last year. The average rainfall is almost 20% less than last year and the sowing operations have been below normal in 202 talukas.
On Tuesday, Patangrao Kadam, minister of relief and rehabilitation, held a meeting with employment guarantee scheme minister Nitin Raut and minister of state for relief and rehabilitation Prakash Solanke, who took a review of the drought situation in the state.
The state cabinet will discuss the situation on Wednesday, after which the chief minister and his senior ministers will brief the Central team on the issue. "There has been heavy rainfall in Yavatmal; we had to decide measures to mitigate floods. We also decided several points to be discussed with Sharad Pawar. The final amount of funds to be demanded from the Centre will be finalised then," said Kadam.
Speaking in the legislature last week, Chavan said while funds of Rs. 2,650 crore are available, which include those from Central and state schemes, more funds will be needed.
A senior government official involved in preparing for the presentation to be made to the Central team said short term funds of around Rs1,000 crore and long term funds of Rs. 4000-odd crore will be demanded for.
"The trend over the last two years has seen rains picking up around August. The Tuesday rains in parts of western and central Maharashtra are promising, and, according to predictions, there might be a turnaround that the state desperately needs," the official said.