Politicians march to parched Marathwada

Mumbai, May 4 (IANS) Hoping to target the government at the Centre and in Maharashtra, all major political parties, including the ruling BJP’s ally in the state Shiv Sena, are rushing to the parched regions of Marathwada and other drought-hit areas.

Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray reached Latur on Wednesday and addressed a public rally in the town which is being supplied water through trains since the past fortnight.

But other remote villages in the worst-hit Latur, Beed, Osmanabad districts where monsoon has failed for three consecutive years, continue to get water supplies through tankers, which Thackeray is scheduled to tour.

He announced plans to supply water through 50 tankers through the party and also distributed 3,000 water storage tanks to the villagers.

Not satisfied with merely waiver of interest on farm loans announced last week, Thackeray demanded full loan waiver for the farmers and warned the government would have to answer many questions in the upcoming monsoon session of the state legislature.

From Friday, the opposition Congress’ top leadership, including state party chief Ashok Chavan and two other former chief ministers Narayan Rane and Prithviraj Chavan, will start touring the region.

The other main opposition party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), has organised a drought conference in Aurangabad which will be attended by party president and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.

His nephew and former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar will embark on a separate tour of Beed, Latur and Nanded from May 6 and review the drought-relief works of the government.

Besides an acute scarcity of drinking water for both humans and animals, the farming communities in the affected districts have missed multiple crop seasons leading to over 330 suicides so far.

The situation gets compounded with unseasonal rains accompanied by hailstorms which end up destroying any standing crops, pushing the farmers deeper in the vicious vortex of debts.

The opposition parties are not the only ones criticising the state government for its failure to provide succour. Even the ruling partner Shiv Sena has been targetting the BJP at various fora for letting down the people in the drought-hit regions.

–IANS

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