Maharashtra: After criticism, CM Uddhav Thackeray starts touring flood-affected areas
Maharastra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray began his two-day tour of flood-affected districts in western and central Maharashtra on Monday. Thackeray, along with other senior ministers from his cabinet, is visiting villages that were hit by heavy rainfall in Solapur and will meet with district officials on Monday evening to take stock of the situation.
Harvest-ready crops on hectares of land were destroyed in the torrential rainfall and flooding that occurred for over four days last week in many districts of central and western Maharashtra. Farmers have been demanding immediate financial relief.
Thackeray, along with revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, relief and rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar, agriculture minister Dadaji Bhuse and local ruling party MLAs began the tour from Sangvi Khurd village in Solapur district. After visiting a few more villages in Akkalkot tehsil, he will hold a meeting with officers at the district collectorate before returning to Mumbai.
At Sangvi Khurd, farmers expressed disappointment at the chief minister’s decision to review losses to crops from the bridge on Bhori river instead of visiting the fields.
“Rain in our village was unprecedented. We want the entire village to be rehabilitated with immediate assistance to farmers,” said Aftab Shaikh, the village head of Sangvi Khurd.
The chief minister’s tour began after criticism from opposition parties that Thackeray should step out and assess the loss from the ground instead of evaluating the situation through video conferencing.
The CM will visit flood-hit villages in Osmanabad on Wednesday.
Leader of opposition and former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, too, began his three-day tour of flood-hit districts on Monday. Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar visited villages in Solapur and Nanded on Sunday as part of his two-day tour.
Pawar, on Sunday, said the Union government should help flood-affected farmers as the state had limited resources. Pawar also said he would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard in the next 10 days.
“The Centre will, of course, help, but the state government cannot shrug off its responsibility. It is the state government’s primary responsibility to assist,” Fadnavis said while reacting to Sharad Pawar’s remarks.
Fadnavis, during his visit to flood-affected areas in Daund tehsil of Pune district, said there was a “growing tendency” among the Maha Vikas Aghadi government to pass on every responsibility to the Centre.
Due to the rain and floods, in western Maharashtra alone, 29 people lost their lives while 16 persons died in central Maharashtra’s Aurangabad division and three in coastal Konkan.
(With inputs from Surendra P Gangan)
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