Mumbai: In an apparent bid to counter the Opposition onslaught in the upcoming Budget session of Maharashtra Legislature, state ministers have begun their day-long tour of 29 talukas of drought affected Beed, Latur and Osmanabad districts.
Cabinet ministers from both BJP and Sena, including ministers of state, will take stock of severe water shortage plaguing the three districts and will submit a report to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in the evening and chalk out remedial measures.
The ministerial tour comes at the fag end of Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil's five-day tour to drought affected areas which had begun on March 1 and attracted considerable crowd.
Pointing out that there were 244 farmland suicides in January alone, Vikhe-Patil demanded a complete loan waiver and other relief measures for the farmers, in his public meetings.
While Fadnavis is visiting Nilanga in Latur district today, Rural Development Minister Pankaja Munde visited Georai in Beed district and met farmers and families of farmers who have recently committed suicide. Later, she also met women villagers of the village to get a first hand account of water issues faced by them.
Tribal Development Minister is on a visit to a few drought affected villages in Latur district where he met villagers to enquire if government schemes for needy farmers are reaching them or not.
Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar is also on a visit to drought affected villages of Beed district worst hit by water scarcity.
Education Minister Vinod Tawde, who is on a visit to Latur district, had to face the wrath of Shetkari Sanghatana, an organisation for farmers, who blocked his cavalcade in Yedshi village and tried to throw milk on his car.
Protestors also waived black flags in front of Tawde and alleged that farmers are in distress as government schemes are not reaching those in need.
Meanwhile, sources in the state BJP unit said that following the ministers' tour, the party will depute its elected representatives and party office bearers across the drought affected talukas to monitor relief works and help the people till the next monsoon arrives.