Sunday, January 20, 2013

Scam In Making : Centre releases 778 cr to tackle drought in state

Mumbai: Coming to the state’s rescue, the Centre on Thursday released Rs 778 crore as drought fund for urgent use in relief and mitigation measures. Several parts of the state are reeling under unprecedented drought situation. Last year. Maharashtra had asked the Centre for Rs 3,400 crore in view of the alarming drought condition in western Maharashtra, Marathwada and other parts of the state.

However, the opposition criticized the state and the Centre for not doing enough to help the affected. “I had asked the state why the Centre was releasing help in piecemeal when urgent help is required. What has the state done to push its case?” asked leader of opposition in the council Vinod Tawde.

The opposition demanded the state no longer depends on the Centre for help and releases the remaining amount immediately for the drought-affected regions.

The state is suffering from one of its worst droughts since 2003, with as many as 6,000 villages in 15 districts being worst affected. The state had officially declared drought in 123 talukas to seek Centre’s assistance.

‘Don’t hold exams in affected belt schools’

The NCP has asked the government to promote students (class I to IX) in drought-hit areas without conducting exams. NCP’s student wing chief Nilesh Raut has raised the demand before CM Prithviraj Chavan and deputy CM Ajit Pawar. “Families might have to be evacuated and relocated in certain drought-hit areas in April and May. Many affected students could lose an academic year if exams were held,” he said. Raut has also asked the government to waive off exam fee for the current academic year and exam and admission fees for the next year. Meanwhile, the CM visited drought-hit areas in Satara. TNN

Tax for water bottling units? 
An NGO working in drought-hit areas has demanded that water-intensive bottling plants pay additional tax to help raise scarcity funds. TNN

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