Mumbai: Maharashtra government Wednesday decided to empower the district collectors to sanction expenditure of upto Rs two crore on drought relief related work.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the state Cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan here.
The water supply department has been allocated Rs 414 crore to supply water in scarcity-hit areas, Chavan said.
The water stock in the 2,468 irrigation projects in the state is 48 per cent, the meeting was informed. The maximum water stock is in Konkan (76 per cent) and the lowest is in Marathwada (17 per cent).
Also, Rs 214 crore have been spent on cattle camps in drought-hit regions.
Over 18,000 works are in progress under the MNREGA in the state and around 1.35 lakh workers are employed there, the meeting was informed.
Meanwhile, suggesting measures to tackle the drought situation in Maharashtra, state Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has written to the Chief Minister, demanding that the state government should first supply water to agriculture and drinking water purposes, and only then direct it towards industries.
He specifically wanted the state government to stop water supply to water-intensive industries, especially soft drink and bottled mineral water industries, till the situation improves.
Vikhe-Patil said, "The first priority should be water for drinking, the second for agriculture and the third for industries."