Farmers want drought to be declared; government dilly-dallies
According to the second survey carried out by the Revenue Department of Maharashtra, more than 20,000 villages in the state have received less than 50 per cent agricultural yield this year.
The state has a total of 43,722 villages. This means that close to half the state is in an agricultural crisis. An earlier survey had put this number at a mere 1,604 villages.
The worst hit region in the state is Marathwada where out of 8,004 out of 8,536 villages are facing shortage of yield.
According to revenue minister Eknath Khadse, the number of such villages—with less than 50 per cent agricultural yield on the ‘paishewari’ scale used by the revenue department—is likely to go by December 15 when the final crop reports will be submitted to the state government by its revenue department.
Farmers demand relief and compensation
The fresh crop report has made it imperative that the government must declare a drought in the state (which it has not done till now despite a delayed and deficit monsoon). Khadse, however, has said that he and rural development minister Pankaja Munde will be touring the drought-striken areas and the final decision will be taken on November 27 after a meeting with newly-appointed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The crisis is likely to deepen during the Rabi crop season, owing to sharp decrease in ground water level in the state and low water stocks in its dams. Farmer groups from all over the state are demanding that state-wide drought be declared without delay and immediate relief be provided. Khadse said that basic relief measures like relaxation in electricity bills and land revenue have already been put in place in the crisis-hit areas.
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