Mumbai/Aurangabad: The Maharashtra government on Thursday decided to seek a central assistance of Rs 4,000 crore to tackle the drought situation plaguing large parts of the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced here.
Describing the drought situation in the state as "grim", he said that a 30-page memorandum has been prepared and would be sent to the central government soon in this regard.
"We will also request for a central team to come and assess the drought situation at the earliest and clear the assistance," Fadnavis told media persons in Aurangabad.
He added that nearly 19,000 villages, mainly in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions are facing acute shortage of water supply, both for drinking and irrigation purposes.
Until the central relief, the Chief Minister announced a series of measures to mitigate the sufferings of the people in the affected regions.
These include waiver of tuition fees for students studying in the senior and higher secondary schools, waving off the compulsory 'panchnamas' for the affected farmers to seek assistance, and no forcible recovery of unpaid electricity bills, among others.
Earlier this afternoon, a high-level delegation led by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, Leader of Opposition Eknath Shinde and others met Governor CV Rao in Mumbai to demand immediate relief for the people of the drought-hit regions in the state.
The meeting came in the wake of a tour of the drought-affected regions carried out by Thackeray and all his 63 party legislators and 18 MPs earlier this week for a spot assessment of the situation.
Among other things, Thackeray demanded the restoration of power supply to farmers whose connections were cut off due to non-payment of bills, complete halt to all farm loans-debts recoveries, completing 183 incomplete irrigation projects in Marathwada region and directly depositing government assistance into the 'Jan Dhan' bank accounts of the affected farmers.
He urged the governor to undertake a tour of the drought-hit regions along with the leader of opposition and opposition legislators for a first-hand study of the ground situation.
Governor Rao assured that he would tour the affected regions shortly and also discuss the issue with Fadnavis.