Conditions amongst farmers in Maharashtra continues to be dismal as the drought hit farmers are yet to receive their compensation even after two months since the Maharashtra government declared drought in 151 tehsils of the state.
Reportedly, the state government has asked for a relief package from the Centre which is yet to be released. However, according to Hindustan Times, the BJP-government in the state has decided to start providing compensation from its own reserve. This process may take another month before it can be completed as on January 16, the state government directed all district collectors to prepare a list of the farmers who have been affected within the next 15 days.
Drought hit villages to get Centre’s assistance
On October 31, 2018, the state government, under the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) norms declared 151 tehsils of the state to be drought hit, meaning that all villages under this tehsil are entitled to assistance by the centre. Reportedly, the government sought Rs 7,962 crore from the central government out of which Rs 7,103 crore is for crop damages. According to a Mirror Now report, Marathwada is the worst-affected area as villagers and farmers are on a constant battle to procure fresh water, be it for their cattle or crops.
Considering low crop production as well as acute water shortage, the government, in the first week of January 2019, decided to declare 931 more villages in Maharashtra drought-hit. These villages are located in 50 revenue circles in eight districts. State relief and rehabilitation minister Chandrakant Patil said, “These villages got less than 75% of the average rainfall or a crop produce less than 50% of the estimate. Relief measures will begin with immediate effect,” reported Hindustan Times in a separate report. This has resulted in the loss of around 60% or 85.76 lakh hectares of the cultivable land to be affected by acute water shortage.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray began a tour of the drought-affected regions of the state and slammed the central and the state government for not doing enough for the farmers.