Opposition wants special session on Maharashtra drought

Mumbai, Sep 5 (IANS) The Congress-led Opposition in Maharashtra on Saturday demanded a special session of the state legislature to discuss the spectre of a severe drought looming over the state with the failure of the monsoon this year.

A high-level delegation of Congress leaders led by Maharashtra chief Ashok Chavan, Leader of Opposition in the legislative assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Manikrao Thakre, Naseem Khan, Bhai Jagtap, Sanjay Dutt, Nitin Raut, Sachin Sawant and others met Governor C.V. Rao and submitted a memorandum to him.

In the memorandum, they pointed out that the state is reeling under a severe water crisis as a fallout of the failure of the monsoon and the current kharif season crops have been totally destroyed.

“This has raised questions about drinking water for the people, animals, agriculture and fodder for livestock, especially in the rural areas. Marathwada has been especially badly hit with three consecutive years of monsoon failure,” the memorandum said.

In the wake of the crisis, large areas of the state would be required to be catered by water tankers. The existing arrangements made by the state government are inadequate.

The drought conditions, complicated by the unseasonal hailstorms and rains in many parts of Vidarbha and Marathwada in April-May this year, resulted in around 1,800 farmers suicides.

“There is an urgent need to address the crisis, particularly in the rural areas, from where large-scale migration has already begun to the urban centres in the state. So far, only tour of the drought-hit areas is underway, then schemes will be announced, and the administration will implement them, but by then, the situation would be critical,” the delegation said.

In order to discuss the drought situation, the problems of drinking water, employment, sheds and fodder for animals, arresting farmers suicides, and to hammer out a permanent solution to these issues, the opposition demanded a special session of the legislature.

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