The severe drought situation prevailing in some parts of Maharashtra will have long term consequences such as fall in agricultural production leading to reduction in incomes of the people, Governor K.Sankaranarayanan has said.

Panchayati Raj institutions such as Zilla Parishads, Panchayat Samitis and Gram Panchayats should intensify their efforts to make villages and towns self-sufficient and accord utmost priority to managing the water resources, he said.

The Governor was addressing a gathering at a state function to felicitate the best performing Panchayati Raj institutions organised by the Rural Development Department here yesterday.

“Maharashtra is going through one of the worst droughts of the century. The magnitude and scale of the drought is indeed worrying. Several thousands of people have been affected by the drought. The plight of the mute animals is heart wrenching. The government is taking several steps to address the immediate challenge of providing drinking water to the affected people and fodder for the cattle. But there will be long term consequences of the drought such as fall in agricultural production resulting in fall in incomes of our people. In view of these challenges we will have to work hard to make our villages and towns self-sufficient,” he said.

The Governor complimented the state government for its “good” tradition of devolution of funds, functions and to the functionaries of Panchayati Raj bodies. He asked these bodies to ensure that the funds allocated to them are utilised fully.

The Ratnagiri Zilla Parishad was adjudged the best Zilla Parishad in Maharashtra under the Yashwant Panchayat Raj Campaign of the state.

The Panchayat Samitis of Gadhinglaj in Kolhapur district, Devgad (Sindhudurg) and Bramhapuri (Chandrapur) were given the first three awards for the Best Panchayat Samitis in the state.

The Gram Panchayats of Manyachi Wadi (taluka Patan in Satara district), Shelgao Gauri (Naigaon taluka in Nanded) and Savargaon (Chimur taluka in Chandrapur) were awarded the first three prizes in the Village Panchayat category.