Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar on Monday said Maharashtra was facing a "historic economic crisis" and the state government has no option but to take a loan to help the flood-affected people in the state.
Pawar, who is on a tour of the Marathwada region to review the flood situation, told reporters in Osmanabad that a state government cannot do anything alone in a crisis of such magnitude.
Last week, heavy rains and floods claimed at least 48 lives in Pune, Aurangabad and Konkan divisions, while crops on lakhs of hectares were damaged.
As per official information, till Friday, as many as 40,036 people were shifted to safer places in the four districts, including over 32,500 in Solapur and over 6,000 in Pune.
"The state has no option but to take loan to help the flood-affected people. The state is facing a historic economic crisis. I will meet the chief minister to discuss the issue,"
Osmanabad, Latur, Solpaur, Nanded and Pandharpur (in Solapur) were among the worst-affected places, the former Union agriculture minister said, adding that crops like soyabean and sugarcane were damaged.
Asked why Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was not touring the state, Pawar, whose party is a coalition partner in the Maharashtra government, said, "I requested Thackeray to be at one place to do the planning. The administration needs to take decisions by doing proper planning."
He said farmers were facing problems with conditions (imposed by banks) for availing crop loan, and land was also destroyed due to floods.
Asked about Bharatiya Janata Party’s criticism that the state government was looking at the Centre for help and not doing anything, Pawar said, "(Former prime minister) Vajpayee did not see party affiliations when he appointed me head of the disaster management authority because of the work done during the Latur earthquake (in 1992-93)."
"During a crisis, state and central governments work together. A state government cannot do anything alone in a crisis of such magnitude," he added.