After a two-day tour to Raigad and Ratnagiri districts, which bore the brunt of cyclonic storm Nisarga last week, NCP chief Sharad Pawar met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the modalities of providing relief to the Konkan region.
In the meeting, also attended by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, NCP MP from Raigad Sunil Tatkare, senior bureaucrats among others, the NCP chief stressed on the need to use the state’s employment guarantee scheme for the revival of the areas of affected by the cyclone. Pawar also suggested a special package for the revival of the orchards in the Konkan region.
Earlier this week, the NCP chief, visited Raigad and Ratnagiri districts to assess the damage caused by the cyclone. On Thursday, Pawar emphasised on the need to increase compensation to the people and restoring water and electricity supplies to the region. The state government has already declared Rs 100 crore relief to Raigad and Rs 75 crore to Ratnagiri.
“If the state government’s old employment guarantee scheme is linked with the orchard plantation scheme, then it will be a useful way to revive the orchards destroyed by the cyclone,” Pawar said.
The NCP chief said there was severe damage to the houses and orchards. “Debris has piled up at many places as walls, roofs and trees have collapsed. The garbage will have to be cleared and houses and shops are also required to be cleaned. Since it is a huge task, the employment guarantee scheme can be used for it,” he added.
Pawar suggested there was a need to announce a special package for the revival of the orchards in the region. “It will help farmers to re-emerge from the crisis. For this, if required, we should send a proposal to the Union government seeking assistance,” he added.
He said some measures needed to be taken to boost the tourism sector, which has been badly hit. “Citizens do not have money as most of the banks are closed. Banks need to be opened to repay the instalments of agriculture and other business loans and to give fresh loans. Consultations should be held with the banks to see if any concessions can be given to farmers who will take fresh loans,” he added.
Tatkare said that though the government has already announced some good relief measures, there was a need for more aid. “I hope that a positive decision will be taken by the government in the next 4-5 days,” said Tatkare, adding that Pawar may meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, if required, to seek assistance from the Centre after the completion of the assessment of the damages.
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