Cabinet declares drought-like situation in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, Jul 9 (UNI) With rains playing truant, the Maharashtra government today declared a drought-like situation in the state.

An announcement to this effect was made through a Government Resolution (GR) after a Cabinet meeting here.

The weekly cabinet meeting, held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, instructed the administration machinery in the districts to start the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) works wherever necessary. Also, the farm electricity connections would not be cut off for want of pending bills.

As many as 16 districts of the state had received less than 50 per cent of rainfall, leading to water cut in these districts.

Considering the situation, the government will provide incentives and facilities to all farmers in the state, whose agricultural production has been hampered due to the low rainfall.

The farmers' lands will not be forcibly taken over by the state co-operatives for non-payment of loans nor the electricity of the farmers be disconnected due to non-payment of bills, it said.

The Cabinet also decided to keep water in the dams reserved for drinking purposes. It was noted that only 22 per cent water is collected in major and medium dams in the state.

The overall rainfall is only 50 per cent of the average in 16 districts, while sowing of crops is not underway in many districts due to lack of requisite rainfall, official sources said.

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