Maharashtra faces drought-like situation

August 1st, 2012 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 1 (IANS) With available water storage dipping to barely 31 percent owing to poor rains, a severe drought-like situation could envelop Maharashtra, officials said here Wednesday.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh attended a high-level meeting to review the situation.

Large parts of the state have got deficient rainfall although the peak monsoon month has ended.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said after the meeting that “the current drought-like situation is a cause of concern”.

He said 191 talukas (sub-districts) had received less than 75 percent of normal rainfall, severely hitting agriculture activities.

And with the monsoon drawing to a close, even the sowing season has ended.

The government would have double its efforts to tackle the drought-like situation, the chief minister said.

Citing grim statistics, Chavan said five sub-districts received less than 25 percent rains, 50 got less than 50 percent and 136 less than 75 percent rainfall.

Of 35 districts, only four have received 100 percent rainfall while 10 got 75-100 percent, 18 50-75 percent while the remaining three got less than 50 percent rainfall.

Pawar assured the central government’s full co-operation to help mitigate the problems of water supply, both for drinking and irrigation purposes.

Ramesh announced an additional central aid of Rs.167 crore over and above Tuesday’s Rs.200 crore - to augment water supply schemes. The government demanded Rs.206 crore for the purpose.

Presently, 1,980 tankers are supplying drinking water to people in 1,485 villages and 6,086 hamlets in the state, Chavan said.

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