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Maharashtra govt. announces Rs. 7000 cr drought relief package

Maharashtra Congress president Manikrao Thakre, along with Congress MLAs, shouting slogans demanding justice for the drought-affected farmers on the first day of the Winter session of the State Assembly in Nagpur on December 8, 2014.

Maharashtra Congress president Manikrao Thakre, along with Congress MLAs, shouting slogans demanding justice for the drought-affected farmers on the first day of the Winter session of the State Assembly in Nagpur on December 8, 2014.  

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also pledged to make the State "drought free" and to free the farmers from the bondage of private moneylenders.

The Maharashtra Government on Thursday announced a relief package of Rs. 7000 crore for the drought-affected Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of the State.

Announcing the package in the Maharashtra Assembly , Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also pledged to make the State "drought free" and to free the farmers from the bondage of private moneylenders.

"Out of Rs.7000 crores, Rs. 3925 crores will be provided as financial assistance to the farmers from drought-affected areas.The last quarterly electricity bills of the farmers from drought affected area will be waived off. The government will also pay the loans taken by around 5 lakh farmers from licencesed money- lenders in the drought affected regions," informed Mr. Fadnavis.

"The government is with you in these troubled times but give us some time. Don't lose hope," the CM appealed to the farmers.

Mr.Fadnavis also announced that the state government was planning to provide 5 lakh solar water pumps to the farmers to deal with the problem of  irregular power supply. 

Responding to the opposition's allegations that the state government did not declare drought situation in time , the CM said that the state government had sent "an immediate memorandum" to the union agriculture ministry.

"Almost 45 to 50 percent  farmers' suicides have taken place because of the burden of debt through illegal moneylenders.We are paying the debt of farmers from registered moneylenders. I appeal to the farmers to register complaints against illegible moneylenders and the government would deal with them," claimed Mr.Fadnavis adding that the illegal connections taken by the farmers from drought affected areas would be provided with the facility of "on spot regularization".

The package also provides Rs.844 crores for horticulture sector and Rs,400 crores for water supply by around 3000 water tankers.

Thursday's package would provide relief to 19,059 villages from drought affected Vidarbha and Marathwada region, the government later claimed in a statement.

The opposition Congress and NCP, however expressed "dissatisfaction" over the package and called it "regionally biased".

"Every region of the state should have been covered under the package. The government left out Western Maharashtra and  Konkan region which are also facing difficulties due to less than expected rainfall," said senior Congress leader Patangrao Kadam.

"We had demanded Rs.10,000 crore package.There was nothing new in today's package," claimed Congress leader in the lower house Mr.Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil calling the package as an "eyewash".

Congress-NCP members accused the government of " filling coffers of moneylenders" and sat in the well of the upper house shouting slogans against the government. 

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 9:32:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-govt-announces-rs-7000-cr-drought-relief-package/article6683261.ece

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