Maharashtra seeks Rs 4,500cr in drought aid from from Centre

Amravati, Nov 28: Maharashtra government has demanded Rs 4,500 crore from the Centre to provide relief to farmers reeling under drought-like situation in the state, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said. He also announced that the state government will do away with local body tax (LBT) and not wait till Goods and Services Tax (GST) comes into force.

Addressing a press conference here in Vidarbha, Fadnavis said his government is taking a series of measures to expedite irrigation projects, give relief to farmers, improve administration, remove backlogs and upgrade health services. He said the previous Congress-NCP Government had left behind a revenue deficit of Rs 26,000 crore.


"We have demanded an aid of Rs 4,500 crore from the Centre to counter drought-like situation in nearly 19,000 villages. In a couple of days we will send a memorandum to the Centre after which a team of officials from Delhi will visit the state and take a decision on declaring drought." Fadnavis reiterated that his Government would not wait for GST to repeal LBT.

"We will not wait for GST. We will do away with LBT before it. We are considering 2-3 alternatives. We get Rs 14,000 crore out of octroi and LBT. We want to retain this figure till GST comes so that we keep getting this much assistance from the Centre even if LBT goes." Stating that 2,700 electricity transformers in the state are in a burnt state, Fadnavis said 450 of them are in Amravati division and they will be replaced in 10 days. The division consists of districts of Amravati, Akola, Yavatmal, Buldhana and Washim.

About the pending irrigation projects, Fadnavis said 102 of them would be taken up on a priority basis. "These projects have been languishing for want of administrative approval for two years. We will grant 20 of these projects administrative approval within 15 days and the others would be cleared in a time-bound manner."

The CM said a programme to make 20,000 agriculture pumps functional would be taken up in six Vidarbha districts. A scheme has been formulated to transform electricity-run agriculture pumps into solar energy driven ones in these districts to ensure uninterrupted supply during day, he said. Also, 13 new power-sub stations will be built in Amravati region, the CM said.


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