PM asks 3-member panel to decide on state's drought aid
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday asked a central committee to study the memorandum submitted by Maharashtra and take a decision, after an all-party delegation led by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan demanded a Rs. 2,700-crore relief package for its drought-affected districts.
The three-member committee includes finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar and water resources minister Pawan Bansal. Pawar had earlier criticised the state for not paying attention to drought-hit areas.
At least 6,201 villages in 15 districts are facing acute water shortage, according to the Congress-NCP government. Satara, Sangli and Solapur districts in western Maharashtra, Marathwada in central Mahara-shtra, and parts of north Maha-rashtra are badly affected.
The state wants Rs 1,500 crore for relief measures and Rs. 1,200 crore for irrigation projects under the Centre's Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme.
The BJP-Sena Opposition, which has been critical of the state's handling of the situation, condemned the PM for not declaring a relief package immediately.