Mumbai: Maharashtra government has decided to create a state sponsored fund on the lines of NDRF (National Disaster Relief Fund) for effectively countering natural disasters, state Revenue minister Eknath Khadse informed the Legislative Council today.
"Taking cues from the Central government's NDRF, we have decided to create a special fund called 'Maharashtra Apatti Nivaran Fund' which will be used to tackle unforeseen disasters like unseasonal rains and hailstorms," Khadse informed the Legislative Council here.
He said in order to ensure that the government is updated with the climatic conditions of a particular area in the state, the government will set up meteorological centre in all major circles.
Emphasising on the use of latest technological advancements, Khadse said they will bring in use the web-based facilities like Google maps for the assessment of crop damage, which is conventionally done manually.
"It has been suggested that traditional techniques of farming need to be scrapped and new techniques have to be developed. We are looking into this matter. We will in future use satellite technology and google map to gauge the extent of losses (due to natural calamities)," he said.
Khadse said that crop insurance schemes will be revived that will avail farmers the benefits separately, for agri and fruit crops.
The minister said that the previous government had failed to disburse the financial package announced by it since 2011- 2013. And claimed that the ruling-BJP government will distribute more funds than the former government did in the past 25 years.
"I heard some people were saying that the Centre isn't providing monetary help to the state (government) and that there is no panchnama being done. But, the fact is that before we could do a panchnama of drought, hailstorm started followed by unseasonal rains," Khadse said.
"Without even waiting for the Centre's help, we released Rs 4,000 crore. Most of it has been disbursed to farmers. Only some are left due to technical problems, but, they too will receive the money soon," Khadse said.
He said the government will announce a special package for farmers affected from unseasonal rains and hailstorms before the end of the ongoing budget session.