Agri loss unprecedented, says Pawar as he promises to meet PM for Centre’s help for rain-affected areasUpdated: Oct 18, 2020, 18:47 IST
The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar began his two-day visit to flood-affected areas of Tuljapur and Ausa in Osmanabad district on Sunday. After reviewing damage to crops and interacting with farmers, Pawar said that the Centre will need to offer financial assistance as the loss is huge and the state government has limitations.
Heavy rains and floods have claimed at least 48 lives in Maharashtra’s Pune, Aurangabad and Konkan divisions last week while crops on lakhs of hectares have been damaged extensively, leading to farmers demanding immediate relief.
After taking stock of the situation on the ground on the first day of his tour, Pawar said that the rain has damaged agriculture on large scale and its impact will be felt long term. “While the state government will offer it help, it has limitations. I have come across Prime Minister Modi’s statement of all possible assurance to Maharashtra. Therefore, I have decided to meet the Prime Minister in Delhi within the next 10 days along with MPs,” Pawar told farmers.
“Standing crops have been destroyed and the land has been damaged. Everything needs to be rectified. The state government cannot do it alone. We will speak to the Centre as well regarding a long-term package and immediate assistance,” said Pawar, whose party is a coalition partner in the Thackeray-led state government.
The BJP, however, targeted Pawar for passing on the responsibility to the Centre. “If the Centre takes all the responsibility, then, what are you doing,” asked BJP state unit chief Chandrakantdada Patil while demanding the state government to come forward and assist farmers.
PM Narendra Modi has already assured help after he interacted with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. “Spoke to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray Ji regarding the situation arising due to flooding and heavy rain in parts of the state. My thoughts and prayers are with those sisters and brothers affected. Reiterated Centre’s support in the ongoing rescue and relief work,” Modi had tweeted on Friday.
Besides Pawar, the chief minister will also be visiting flood affected areas of Solapur and Osmanabad on Monday and Tuesday. The announcement of Thackeray’s visit comes amid severe criticism from opposition that CM has not been stepping out to take stock of situation on the ground.
Leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis too will be on tour of flood-affected areas, starting with Baramati in Pune district, Solapur and Osmanabad.
In Western Maharashtra alone, 29 people have lost lives while 16 persons died in central Maharashtra’s Aurangabad division and three in coastal Konkan.
Farmers’ leader and president of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana Raju Shetti offered immediate assistance to people as the rain impacted crop which was ready for harvest.
Meanwhile, farmers in Nanded stopped a convoy of minister for rehabilitation Vijay Wadettiwar demanding immediate assistance. “The state government wants to help farmers and therefore, the administration has been asked to carry out panchanamas. Once it is done, we will ask Centre also to help,” said Wadettiwar as angry farmers shouted slogan against the government.