Parts of Maharashtra reel under drought

Water is scarce in at least 20,000 of the state’s 40,559 villages, across 201 tehsils which received less than 75% of the average-required rainfall.

Yet again several parts of Maharashtra's Marathwada and Khandesh regions are facing severe drought-like condition and water scarcity, prompting the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government to gear up the machinery and tackle the situation.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday held a review meeting in Aurangabad, the divisional headquarters of Marathwada region, comprising eight districts.

On Tuesday, during the weekly Cabinet meeting, the drought situation was reviewed and all ministers have been asked to tour the state.

Besides the three regions of Marathwada, North Maharashtra-Khandesh and Vidarbha, some districts of Western Maharashtra were also affected.

The situation is being reviewed daily by a panel headed by Chandrakant Patil, revenue, relief and rehabilitation minister, and Diwakar Raote, transport minister.

Water is scarce in at least 20,000 of the state’s 40,559 villages, across 201 tehsils which received less than 75% of the average-required rainfall.

A report on the situation would also be sent to the Centre, official sources said.

The worst affected tehsils are in the districts of Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Gadchiroli (Vidarbha), Jalgaon, Dhule, Nandurbar (North Maharashtra), Sangli and Satara (Western Maharashtra) and Nanded, Parbhani, Hingoli and Latur (Marathwada).

Meanwhile, principal Opposition parties the Congress and the NCP have targeted the Fadnavis government and asked it to declare drought.

Ashok Chavan, former chief minister and state Congress president, wanted to know the reason(s) for the delay.

"Is Devendra Fadnavis waiting for an auspicious date to declare a drought in Maharashtra? Has the government started consulting the Panchang before taking important decisions now?” he asked.

“Water levels in dams are far below anticipated levels. Severe water shortage is seen across the region,” Chavan said.

“Every village is demanding that a drought should be declared. Why is the government refusing to listen to the demands of distressed farmers,” he asked and pointed as to to how load shedding had already begun in several parts of Maharashtra.

"People in Marathwada are facing drought and the chief minister, instead of taking action, is talking about another term. He is daydreaming," said Ajit Pawar, senior NCP leader and former deputy chief minister.

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Parts of Maharashtra reel under drought

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