Central team to assess Maharashtra drought

Last Updated: Wed, Feb 20, 2013 17:00 hrs

Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) A team of experts and officials from New Delhi will tour drought-hit regions of Maharashtra to assess the situation next week, officials said here Wednesday.

The central team will visit 12 of the worst-hit districts in the state Feb 28-Mar 1.

The visit comes in the backdrop of a demand of Rs.2,500 crore assistance from the central government to combat the drought situation in certain parts of the state, which has been worsening since last month.

"To ensure that we are not compelled to displace the population in affected areas, the government has instructed that all arrangements must be made to provide water and adequate employment opportunities to them," Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said after a state cabinet meeting Wednesday afternoon.

He said that 2,020 tankers were supplying water to 1,586 villages and 4,305 far-flung hamlets in the affected district. Similar arrangements would be made in areas facing water shortages, Chavan said.

The situation could get worse with the state having an average total of just 42 percent water in all its reservoirs, compared to 45 percent during the same period in 2012.

Chavan also said that all cabinet ministers will donate one month's salary for drought relief work.

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