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28,000 villages of Maharashtra hit by drought, CM Fadnavis seeks increased funding

Fadnavis-

Mumbai: Battling drought in 28,000 villages, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday sought increased funding for several central schemes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation in the state with him.

Fadnavis, however, declined to share information on how much money the state has asked for from the Centre. He said overall 28,000 villages have been hit by drought in the state across 20-22 districts. This includes the entire Marathwada region, West Vidarbha, districts of Ahmednagar, Solpaur and Sangli to an extent.

“In fresh scenario, the magnitude of the drought has increased and 11,000 more villages have been affected,” he told reporters after the meeting with Modi. The Prime Minister called for focus on medium and long term solutions for drought-proofing.

“CM @Dev_Fadnavis & I held wide-ranging discussions on the drought in parts of Maharashtra & how to mitigate it,” Modi tweeted. “Stressed on vitality of increasing water use efficiency through sprinkler & drip irrigation including in sugarcane cultivation,” he added.

In another tweet, the Prime Minister said, “Usage of modern solid & liquid waste management practices in urban areas will also benefit the adjoining rural areas.” Fadnavis said the state government has chalked out a plan to tackle drought situation in Marathwada and Vidarbha, which includes creation of a “guaranteed irrigation” plan over the next 2-3 years.

An additional plan to have better water management system in Western Maharashtra was presented to the Centre, he said, adding the state has demanded Rs 7500 for these two projects. “We have been allowed to send a supplementary proposal for relief now. We also did a presentation on what pre-monsoon work that could be done in the coming six-weeks. This includes de-silting work at several places, improvement of structures,” Fadnavis said, adding that a long term plan to combat with drought was also presented to the PM.

“It is for the first time that the Centre sanctioned highest ever relief to the state. We has initially asked for Rs 4500 crore, but the Centre sanctioned over Rs 3000 crore, the highest ever in the state’s history. Of this, Rs 2500 crore has already been disbrused.

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