Maharashtra declares drought in 180 tehsils; Devendra Fadnavis says central assistance will reach affected regions soon

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday declared 180 tehsils in the state drought hit.

Marathwada, North Maharashtra and parts of Vidarbha and West Maharashtra are some of the regions facing a drought-like situation this year, as several of them received rainfall 23 percent less than the normal for the year, according to the state agriculture department.

After chairing a state cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that his government will take several efforts to assist the affected farmers, including providing concessions in land revenue, irrigation pumps, educational fees, continuous power supply, and also ensure availability of tankers for drinking water.

Fadnavis also said that a central government team will visit the regions identified as drought-hit soon. These regions, he said, were chosen after strictly following scientific norms of Trigger 1 and Trigger 2 classifications, which are drought identifiers, as laid down by the Government of India.

This comes after a study by the Groundwater Survey and Development Agency, an arm of the Water Resource Department in Maharashtra, found that in at least 3,342 villages of Maharashtra, the groundwater level has dropped by over 3 meters, while in 3,430 villages the level of groundwater has reduced by 2 to 3 meters.

In 7,212 villages in Maharashtra, groundwater level has reduced by over 1 metre. Overall, 13,984 villages from 252 talukas in the state — Maharashtra has 353 Talukas — have witnessed a depletion by more than 1 meter as compared to the average of the past five years. By that calculation, 3,342 villages have begun to experience acute drought starting October this year, which is 71 percent of the area of Maharashtra.

Updated Date: Oct 23, 2018 17:57:13 IST