New Delhi: A Central team will leave for Maharashtra tomorrow to assess the damage caused by drought in large parts of the state, Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh told Lok Sabha today, assuring members that assistance from the Centre will soon follow.
Sharing concerns of members from Maharashtra over distress of farmers, he blamed the previous Congress-NCP government in the state for the delay in central relief, saying it did not declare drought even though situation had turned bad by July and August.
Making an intervention during discussion on natural calamities, Singh said the new BJP government in the state had taken quick measures and the Centre is also responding quickly.
"Drought-like situation had been prevailing in Maharashtra for some time but we could not act due to absence of information from the state. We are acting now," he said.
Gajanan Kirtikar (Shiv Sena) thanked the Centre for speedy action and said a relief of Rs 4,000 crore was required to tackle drought. He said over 11,800 villages in 15 districts have been hit.
Singh said 44 districts of UP and all of Haryana have been declared to be drought-hit and central assistance will be announced in due course.
The minister also assured BJD MPs of the Centre's support in dealing with drought in Odisha.
Noting that weather department sends zone-wise report of drought which makes it difficult for the Union government to know which blocks suffered from drought, he said states should act quickly.
"We have a leadership which cannot only deal with a crisis but triumph over it," he said as several members praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's close monitoring of natural disasters in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir.
At a press conference here, Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said they had sent a proposal of Rs 3,924 crore to the Centre. After meeting Singh, he said many blocks in Vidarbha and Marathwada were reeling under drought.