New Delhi: Voicing concern over the worsening drought situation in the country, Lok Sabha members on Tuesday demanded that the government should waive the loans of farmers and work on war-footing to ensure that people do not suffer for want of drinking water.
Participating the short duration discussion on drought, drinking water crisis and need for inter-linking of rivers, Aparupa Poddar (TMC) said the situation is bad as farmers are committing suicide and crores of people are not getting drinking water.
"We need to work together to deal with the issue. The Water Resources Minister should speed up the inter-linking of river programme," she said.
Chandrakant Khaire (SS) said Maharashtra, particularly the Marathwada region, is suffering from severe drought.
"Farmers are committing suicide due to drought situation as there is no production. Till now 392 farmers have committed suicide. Tankers are providing water but there is an urgent need to increase it," said the member from Maharashtra.
He demanded that the central government should give Rs 5 lakh to the family members of each deceased farmer.
"Government should announce complete waiver of farm loans," he said.
Bhartruhari Mahtab (BJD) said the situation is very alarming in the country as over 40 crore people are affected due to two prolonged drought situation.
"We should optimally utilise the water resources. The problem is there because we have 4 per cent of total water on the planet while 18 per cent of the world's population," he said.
He said water is a state subject and it should remain with them.
Although the government has made some attempts for water management but it has not revolutionised, he said.
Mahtab said that drought is there in many parts of the India and crores of people are affected but there is no discussion about this in neither in media nor in the House.
"During the fag end of the session" the House is discussing this important issue, he said, adding the Swachh Bharat mission would push up the demand for water in the country.
He also said that some members, individuals and companies are getting income tax benefits in the name of agri income.
People are showing income of Rs 100 crore also and taking exemption. "This should be stopped," he said.
He said the inter-linking of river programme has many flaws and instead the government should focus on connecting rivers in states.
"These are 'dry days', not of Bihar, but shortage of water due to faile dmonsson," he said.
A P Jithender Reddy (TRS) said that the House is discussing the important issue in the last.
Even after 69 years of Independence, people in the
country do not have proper facilities for drinking water, food and house, Reddy said.
The TRS member also said that every year the Finance Minister reads his budget speech but no one bothers whether the money is reaching the needy or not.
"It is unfortunate that one person is wearing suit worth lakhs and on the other hand, people do not have proper clothes. Why is this discrimination? Why people are not getting water...In Latur where there is huge water crisis, people are facing lathi charge," he said.
Mohammed Salim (CPI-M) demanded that the government should act on the war-footing to provide relief to people reeling under the water crisis.
"We need short, medium and long term solution to deal with the drought and drinking water crisis, he said while noting that 50 per cent of the population is still dependent of agri sector for livelihood.
He also said that the Prime Minister, who works for long hours, should also take time to visit Marathwada and see for himself the drought situation there.
M R Reddy (YSRCP) highlighted the problem of depleting water level and demanded that government should act on the proposal of inter-linking of rivers.
Supriya Sule (NCP) said Maharashtra government is not serious and has not done enough to deal with the drought situation in Marathwada.
She demanded complete farm loan waiver along with restructuring of the past loans to provide relief to farmers.