Each farmer with small, very small land to get Rs 3,000

The Maharashtra government announced Tuesday Rs 3,000 to each farmer holding small and very small land in drought-affected areas.

Relief and rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam said a proposal to empower tehsildars to deploy water tankers in the 969 affected villages would be placed before the cabinet Wednesday.

"The proposal also seeks to authorise tehsildars to spend up to Rs 2 crore on sending water tankers to needy areas," he said.

The aim is to further de-centralise tanker distribution.

At present, only district collectors have the power to sanction water tankers. The decisions were taken at a cabinet sub-committee meeting Tuesday.

A total of 1,381 water tankers are being sent to 969 villages and 3,569 hamlets 227 in Solapur, 203 in Ahmednagar, 200 in Satara, 141 in Aurangabad, 134 in Osmanabad, 102 in Beed, 36 in Nashik, 31 in Nanded, 28 in Jalgaon and 27 in Buldhana.

Rs 413 crore has been spent and 395 cattle camps opened at the expense of Rs 223 crore. Fodder worth Rs 684 crore has been distributed.

At the Tuesday meeting, leader of opposition in the legislative council Vinod Tawde raised fodder scam. "The government promised during the winter session of assembly in Nagpur to institute within 15 days a CID inquiry in the matter, but nothing has happened. Moreover, almost 12,000 villages have been affected but drought has been declared in only 7,064," he said.

Twade demanded for a fresh look at the extent of drought in Amravati region, sending water tankers to Buldhana immediately and depositing fodder directly in fields. He also demanded Rs 120 crore be set aside to revive fruits and a Rs 500-crore aid to farmers using drip irrigation.

Rs 495 cr needed to dig, deepen, acquire wells

Mumbai: The government immediately needs Rs 495 crore to dig wells in ponds gone dry, provide taps, repair and deepen public wells and acquire private ones in the 938 villages facing drought and drinking water scarcity.

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