Mumbai: Concerned over poor rainfall, Maharashtra Government today announced a Rs 2,685-crore package to tackle scarcity conditions in the coming months in the state.
Announcing the package while replying to a debate on drought in the Legislative Assembly, Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Patangrao Kadam said the funds would be utilised for irrigation, agriculture, water conservation and recharging of wells, among other things.
Out of the package, Rs 300 crore will go towards irrigation projects in Vidarbha, rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGA) works for water storage in scarcity-hit areas, and Rs 500 crore for seeds and fertilisers in rabbi season.
A sum of Rs 60 crore will be used for strengthening water sources, Rs 600 crore for micro irrigation projects, Rs 100 crore for Mahatma Phule Jal Abhiyan (water conservation), Rs 100 crore for concessions on interest for reconstituted loans under the Punjabrao Deshmukh Scheme and Rs 500 crore for water shed management, Kadam said.
He said if the trend of scanty rains continue, 100 talukas and 15,000 villages may be affected. The state has experienced only 79 per cent rainfall so far. Last year, despite 102 per cent rainfall, more than 7,500 villages were declared scarcity affected.
Kadam said if the situation does not improve in the next two months, one third of Maharashtra may face drought- like conditions.
Opposition accused the Government of regional bias and said it neglected backward areas like Vidarbha, Marathwada and North Maharashtra. "Was the drought only in Western Maharashtra (a relatively developed region). Why no no fodder camps were set up in other regions?," Leader of Opposition Eknath Khadse asked.
To which, the Minister said there was no such demand from other districts.