The Maharashtra government's special cabinet meeting in Aurangabad on Tuesday — a meeting of this nature is taking place after a gap of seven years — is the first meeting in two years of the BJP-led Devendra Fadnavis government. In this special meeting, several measures could be taken by the government in the backdrop of floods across the Marathwada region for the past four days. It may be recalled that the silent morcha by the Maratha community started in Aurangabad.
And so, the location takes on an added importance, from the point of view of farmers and the Maratha community.
Sources from the government told Firstpost that special packages had been planned for drought-affected farmers. But after the past month's heavy rainfall across the region, the main problem is the deluge, he added. In the past two years, the Fadnavis government declared Rs 17,000 crore worth of packages to drought-hit farmers.
The last special meeting of the state cabinet was held in 2009 under the leadership of then chief minister Ashok Chavan. At that time, the Congress government announced Rs 5,000 crore for Marathwada, Rs 5,232 crore for the Konkan region and Rs 6,500 crore for north Maharashtra. It's shocking that a large part of these packages was never actually disbursed, said a senior official from the finance department.
The timing of the meeting is as important as the location, because the entire region is facing a major deluge. In the past three days, 17 people were washed away in heavy rain and the kharif crop was destroyed due to heavy rainfall. The affected districts are Latur, Nanded, Beed and Usmanabad, where more that 50 percent of crops have been destroyed by the heavy rain.
Apart from packages for deluge-hit farmers (with immediate effect), the state government is likely to announce packages to promote agro-based products, said a senior minister from the Shiv Sena. There are 30 proposals to be discussed at today's meeting relating to such areas as agriculture, education, social issues, women's self employment and employment benefits for the region. With regards to the water shortages that were feared a few months ago, official sources from the irrigation department told Firstpost that most dams are almost full.
Earlier, Opposition leader from the NCP, Dhananjay Munde had appealed to the chief minister to hold a special meeting with MLAs and MLCs from all parties in the Marathwada region and declare a drought. During the Budget Session in March, Fadnavis had provided assurances that he will hold a special cabinet meeting in Aurangabad to focus on the issues affecting the region. And now that the meeting is set to take place, it is important that the chief minister also touches upon more the recent issues affecting the region: The Maratha community issue and whether or not to amend the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act .