Maharashtra government on Tuesday formally declared 182 talukas drought-prone extending subsidies in agriculture, revenue, power and education sectors to the villagers to cope with crisis arising due to poor rainfall.The district administrations have been directed to put in place the incentives from Tuesday after the decision got the nod at the cabinet meeting.
The state has 355 talukas and the number of talukas listed under drought-prone are as follows: Ahmednagar (10), Akola (5), Amravati (6), Aurangabad (9), Beed (10), Bhandara (3), Buldhana (7), Chandrapur (10), Dhule (3), Gondia(4), Hingoli (3), Jalgaon (13), Jalna (7), Kolhapur (4), Latur (2), Nagpur (3), Nanded (3), Nandurbar (4), Nashik (8), Osmanabad (7), Palghar (3), Parbhani (6), Pune (11), Raigad (3), Ratnagiri (9), Satara (6), Sindhudurg (1), Solapur (9), Wardha (3), Washim (1) and Yavatmal (9).
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said: “Across the state, 182 talukas have been declared drought-prone. The district administrations have been directed to start the relief process with immediate effect. Tankers would be deployed, as per the requirement. School and college fees of students would be waived. Concessions would be given on electricity bills and crop loans recovery have been stayed.”
The current agriculture pumps used by farmers for agriculture purposes would get 33.5 per cent exemption in bills. To accommodate more people in these areas under the MNREGA, the norms have been relaxed.
The talukas have reported poor rain and lower agriculture production – two parameters considered to declare drought. Trigger three and four, soil moisture and ground water levels, are being accessed.
A central team will visit Maharashtra by the month end to assess the gravity of drought in the state.
On October 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Shirdi (Ahmednagar) in Maharashtra had assured the Centre’s help to the state to tackle drought situation.
Taluka-level committees are being set up to monitor the situation regularly.