The state had initially announced drought in 151 tehsils on October 31, 2017, and the Centre’s package will be used for those areas only.
Mumbai: The Centre has announced financial aid for distressed farmers in Maharashtra, but the state government, instead of awaiting the arrival of these funds, will pay Rs 7,000 crore from its own coffers to alleviate the situation.
Agriculture minister Chandrakant Patil told The Asian Age that Rs 4,000 crore would be taken from contingency funds to help farmers. A fortnight ago, the state had released its tranche of Rs 2,900 crore to various districts.
A sub-committee headed by Mr Patil held a weekly meeting over drought-relief measures in Mantralaya on Friday. A senior official from the relief and rehabilitation department said that the issue of using contingency funds was discussed in the meeting. We have decided to use Rs 4,000 crore from the contingency funds. Once the Centre releases its funds for drought relief, we will deposit it into the contingency fund.
However, the minutes of the meetings are yet to be approved. Once they are approved, the money will be immediately released to district collectors.
Mr Patil said that as budgetary provision funds have been made for natural calamities, Rs 2,900 crore from budgetary funds had been released a few days ago to help farmers. We will not wait for the Centre’s financial aid but will use contingency funds to provide relief to farmers, he said.
The state had initially announced drought in 151 tehsils on October 31, 2017, and the Centre’s package will be used for those areas only. Out of the 151 tehsils, 112 are facing a severe drought. Later on, the state government announced drought in 318 revenue circles and 931 villages. The state government will have to bear the cost of providing assistance to these villages and revenue circles. Each circle has 15-20 villages.