With the monsoon not showing any signs of improvement, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday declared 123 talukas in the State as drought-hit.

The decision was taken here during a meeting of the Cabinet. The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, especially focused on the setting up of fodder camps in the affected villages.

Officials said the State Relief and Rehabilitation Department identified the drought-hit areas according to norms stipulated in the Drought Prone Areas Programme.

These norms on the rainfall received and crop sowing percentage were relaxed in some cases, said authorities.

Under 50% rainfall

According to them, talukas that received less than 50 per cent rainfall or where the crop sowing was less than 50 per cent were classified as drought-affected.

The State has recorded an average rainfall of 82 per cent till now as compared to the 98 per cent rainfall it received during the same period last year, with 17 of the State’s 35 districts getting less than 50 per cent rainfall.

Chavan to meet Pawar

Officials said Mr. Chavan would soon meet Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar in New Delhi to seek financial assistance to tackle the situation.

So far, the State’s total fund requirements for immediate mitigation measures before October 15 are Rs. 2857 crore, with Rs. 2547 crore requested as Central fund assistance.

It has also proposed new fund assistance amounting to Rs. 214 crore that includes grant for enhancing fodder development (Rs. 15 crore) and strengthening of regional water supply schemes (Rs. 75 crore).