NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said he has decided to take up the plight of the state’s drought-affected farmers with the central and state governments, even as he urged that the issue shouldn’t be politicised.
The former Union agriculture minister has been touring the drought-hit talukas of the state since polling got over in Pawar bastion Baramati on April 23.
“There is no need for politics over drought…I will share my inputs with the government. We want to work with the government. If the governments take a positive decision, we will help them tackle the drought situation,” Pawar said during his visit to drought-hit Beed district.
He first visited drought-hit Sangola taluka, where he said that the state government has delayed taking action in drought-hit areas. In the wake of Pawar’s remarks, the state government had urged the Election Commission to relax the model code of conduct to initiate relief work, after which the EC relaxed the norms.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has also directed district guardian ministers to start visiting drought-hit areas. The state government had earlier declared as many as 28,000 villages in Maharashtra drought-hit.
Pawar said there was a need to set up more cattle camps or else the livestock won’t survive, adding, “The government needs to change its policy in this regard”. He said in 1972 and 1978, when several talukas had been hit by drought, water was still available in certain pockets. “But this time, there was no sign of water for miles together,” said the NCP chief.
Revenue Minister Chandrakant Patil, meanwhile, said the government has distributed Rs 4,000 crore as compensation to farmers. Patil said the state government was aware of the extent of the drought. “During Congress-NCP rule, they used to declare a drought in April. We have done this in October-November. We have also distributed compensation much before we received central government aid,” he said.