1,078 more villages declared drought-hit
TNN | Mar 14, 2015, 03.36 AM IST
The BJP-led government is under severe pressure with not only from the opposition parties but also the ruling partner Shiv Sena gunning for the Devendra Fadnavis regime for not doing enough to ameliorate the plight of farmers despite a massive relief package of Rs7,500 crore declared during winter session of the legislature besides the Rs3,500 crore long term measures to prevent droughts.
The 1,078 villages that have reported less than 50 paisewari are 396 in Osmanabad district, 393 in Chandrapur district, 258 in Ahmednagar, 20 in Pune and 11 in Satara district.
Meanwhile, three farmer suicide cases in Nagpur district have been declared eligible for compensation of Rs1 lakh each. The three are Ramrao Tonge (60) of Dadera village in Kalmeshwar taluka, Arvind Sonekar (45) of Ambada in Kuhi, and Ramrao Chepatkar (65) of Waghode in Parsheoni taluka.
Only 39% of water left in reservoirs across India
With summer looming only a month away, water storage in 85 major reservoirs of the country as on March 12 was 59.694 billion cubic meters or only at the 39% of total capacity, data revealed by the ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation shows. According to Central Water Commission (CWC), in comparison to the corresponding period of last year, the storage stands at 82% and it is 104% of the storage levels of last ten year. CWC monitors 85 important reservoirs on a weekly basis that include 37 reservoirs attached to hydro power units.
Last year, India had one of its worst monsoons in recent times as it was 12 per cent below the average rainfall. The monsoon was just about enough to salvage fortunes from the farming point of view but some parts of the country such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh had faced extremely dry periods during July and August. Though the adequately irrigated areas of the country may not suffer from a full-fledged drought, states such as Maharashtra, Telangana and parts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh that saw less than normal rainfall may see drought like situations.
In fact, soon after coming to power, the BJP-Shiv Sena government in Maharashtra identified almost 19,000 villages as drought prone and approached Centre for funds. Further, in January, they released aid of Rs2,000 crores for farmers affected by drought during the Kharif season. The state government had decided to transfer this aid directly into the bank accounts of farmers. According to the ministry’s data, only Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu recorded better storage than the corresponding period for last year. On the other hand, states such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh were among those that recorded lesser storage that last year for the corresponding period.
According to the ministry’s data, across the 22 reservoirs in the western regions of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the live water storage available was only 43% of the capacity of the reservoirs as opposed to 55% recorded during the same period last year.