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Yes, there is a drought in Vidarbha

July 21, 2004 22:00 IST

In view of scanty rainfall in Vidarbha, the Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced drought-like situation exists in the backward region and emphasised that it would extend all possible assistance to farmers.

Nearly 15 districts have received more than 75% of the average rainfall while remaining 20 districts have received rainfall less than it.

At present 2,201 villages and 2,065 hamlets are being provided with tanker water and nearly 479,000 people are working on 8,354 Employment Guarantee Scheme works.

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"All the talukas of Vidarbha, which have received less than 75% of the average rainfall, will be declared drought-hit and appropriate measures will be taken to improve the condition of the affected population," Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said.

Shinde, along with Deputy Chief Minister Vijaysinh Mohite-Patil, on Tuesday toured Nagpur and Amravati divisions to review the situation.

The Union agricultural secretary would be touring parts of Vidarbha on July 25 to review the situation, he said.

In order to provide jobs to the affected population, EGS norms would be relaxed in Vidarbha. But the chief minister was non-committal on farmers' demand for assistance of Rs 10,000 per hectare.

The number of tankers supplying drinking water would be enhanced. "Instructions have been issued that water in dams should be used on priority basis for drinking and for cattle."

The agricultural department will undertake a special scheme to grow fodder in the region. The government would also restructure repayment of loans taken by the farmers.

Asked about suicides of farmers in the region, Shinde said, "I do not have figures in this regard but officials are collecting the data."

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Sub: Farmers committing suicide.

The recent spur of reports of farmers committing suicide has given some people a chance to blame rival political parties, government negligence, etc. These farmers ...

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