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Central team to assess drought situation in Maharashtra

Posted on Feb 27, 07:13PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 27 : An Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) is currently visiting Maharashtra to assess the drought situation in the state.

The team is being led by a Joint Secretary (National Horticulture Mission) in the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation - Sanjeev Chopra - and has members from other concerned Ministries / Departments.

The team's assessment will be placed before the Empowered Group of Ministers for effective management of drought and related issues which is likely to meet the next week.

Maharashtra is witnessing drought during the current Rabi season, and this drought spell was preceded by drought during Rabi 2011-12 and Kharif-2012.

The Central government has already approved Rs. 574.71 crore and Rs. 778.09 crore to Maharashtra from National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) for mitigating drought situation during Rabi-2011-12 and Kharif-2012 respectively.

Deficit rainfall in western Maharashtra and Marathwada throughout the 2012 monsoon resulted in less availability of soil moisture and water for irrigation.

Poor rainfall has affected the storage in all the irrigation projects in the drought-affected region. Live storage in all the dams has rapidly depleted in three divisions viz. Nashik, Pune and Aurangabad. The water storage in Jayakwadi, the biggest dam in Maharashtra, has negligible live storage.

The poor rainfall and consequent low water storage have reduced area coverage under Rabi crops, especially jowar. While normal area under Rabi is 58,60 lakh ha, sowing has been done only in 45.27 lakh ha (77%) this year.

According to the final paisewari (crop cutting estimates), total number of kharif villages where the crop loss is more than 50% was 7896.

The provisional Rabi paisewari declared on 21st January 2013 shows 3905 villages as having crop loss above 50%. This number is likely to increase in the final paisewari figures.

Water is being made available to people through private and Government tankers. 441 cattle camps have been opened where 3,39,779 cattle are accommodated.