Govt flayed for inept handling of drought

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Drought putting a strain on State’s finances, allege Opposition

Water scarcity is acute across the State.
Water scarcity is acute across the State.

The Maharashtra Government came under fire from Opposition parties on Wednesday, over the inept handling of the drought-like situation in the State.

Participating in a discussion in the Legislative Assembly, veteran Peasants and Workers Party leader, Mr Ganpatrao Deshmukh, said though the drought is putting strain on the State’s finance, assistance from the Centre is not forthcoming.

“Every time there is a discussion on the drought, same questions are raised. However, the Government has not been able find a permanent solution to the problem of drought,” he said.

Pointing out that water scarcity is very acute across the State, Mr Deshmukh said for supplying water, tankers make 50 km-long trips. “Usually, rains in the month of July are very heavy in the State, but today more than 2,500 tankers still supply water to hundreds of villages. Some of these villages are getting water supply only once a week,” he said.

MLA Mr Uttamrao Dhikale of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, said though a number of villages in the State get tanker water, funds are being misappropriated while hiring the tankers.

Ms Pankaja Munde, BJP MLA from Beed district, said, “Huge money has been spent on irrigation but only 0.01 per cent of additional land has come under irrigation. How will farmers do farming when there is no water, seeds are being black marketed and irrigation is virtually non existent in many districts,” she said.

Ms Munde pointed out that two bulls require over Rs 12,000 of cattle feed a month. “Where will the framers get that money? Bulls which have been bought for Rs 70,000 are being sold for Rs 5,000 by the distressed farmers,” she said.

“More than 2,500 tankers still supply water to hundreds of villages. Some of the villages get water only once a week.”

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 12, 2012)
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