Drought situation in Maharashtra serious: Chavan

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the focus of the state budget next month would primarily be on drought relief measures.

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday described as serious the drought situation in the state and said the focus of the state budget next month would primarily be on drought relief measures.

Speaking at a meeting of MPs from the state ahead of the budget session of the Parliament, Chavan said the state will have to tackle the drought situation for the next five to six months.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who is NCP MP from Madha Lok Sabha constituency in Solapur district, was also present.

Union Home MInister Sushilkumar Shinde, Union Minister of State for IT Milind Deora, Minister of State for Agriculture Tariq Anwar, BJP deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde were among the 37 MPs who attended the meeting.

Pawar suggested that drought-affected people from Marathwada, who migrate to Mumbai, should be given temporary ration cards. Similarly, co-operative societies and sugar units have come forward to set up fodder camps in other parts of the state except Marathwada, he lamented.

He also suggested that minimum wages should be revised under EGS. In Kerala, he said it was Rs 145 per day. Pawar sought help from Mumbai and rest of the state to help Marathwada tide over the drought situation.

He said dams in Sangli, Satara, Pune, Ahmednagar have enough stored water. There should be no politics in helping the Marathwada region starved of water.

Chavan sought the MPs` co-operation in getting the Presidential assent to several pending bills including the Money Laundering Bill and Educational Institutions Regulation of Fees Bill.

Similarly, the proposal for separate statutory development boards for Konkan and North Maharashtra is also pending before the Centre. Chanvan said till date proposals of central assistance under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) worth Rs 1,847 crore are sent to the Centre, which are pending at various stages.

The Union Government has sanctioned central assistance of Rs 16.65 crore only against the proposals sent in 2012-13. The proposals needed to be cleared immediately to ensure release of central assistance before the financial year ends.

Proposals of Nerdhamna barrage, Tembhu LIS and Urmodi major projects are sent to the Centre for inclusion in AIBP scheme. These projects are benefiting saline track and the drought-prone area of Vidarbha and western Maharashtra, he said.

Other issues discussed were the Brihanmumbai Storm Water Drain (BRIMSTOWAD) project, Navi Mumbai airport, proposed railway projects, environmental clearances, boundary dispute with Karnataka among others.

When BJP MP Piyush Goyal spoke on Gujarat taking a lead over Maharashtra in terms of industrial investment, Pawar said Gujarat may have been leading in terms of marketing.

"But, Maharashtra is the numero uno state in terms of industrial preference," he said.