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Central team tours drought-hit areas,Maha seeks Rs 4000 cr aid


Mumbai : A Central team is on a two-day visit to Maharashtra to assess the damage in drought-hit areas, after the state government sought a relief package of Rs 4,000 crore from the Union government.

The state had earlier declared drought in 15,747 villages across Maharashtra.

“We have submitted a memorandum to the Centre three days back seeking Rs 4,002.82 crore as drought relief aid. Out of the total relief package sought, Rs 3,578.43 is for compensation, Rs 314.56 crore for water supply and Rs 109.83 crore for cattle maintenance,” state Agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse said.

The Central team has begun its visit from Aurangabad region to assess the damages. Once the entire assessment is done, a decision to provide relief will be taken within 15 days, he said.

The state received only 59.4 per cent of the total annual rainfall this year. Seven districts got 25-50 per cent rainfall while 16 districts received 50-75 per cent rains.

“The poor rainfall led to loss of Kharif and Rabi cropswhich resulted in a drop in agricultural output. There has been crop loss on 53.1 lakh hectares from 21 districts,” Khadse said.

He said the number of tankers supplying water to the drought-hit areas is expected to go up from the current 653 to 2,500 over the next seven months, at an expenditure of Rs 162.15 crore.

“Out of the 74 sanctioned cattle camps, the government has already set up 20. We plan to set up another 380 cattle camps for nearly 4.10 lakh cattle at an expenditure of Rs 86.63 crore,” the minister said.

Leader of Opposition in state Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had earlier demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should himself tour the drought-affected regions of the state.

Despite three Central teams having visited Maharashtra earlier this year, no relief has been provided by the Union government, he said.

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