Under a severe grip of water scarcity in several parts of the state, Maharashtra government on Saturday said it will seek a financial assistance of Rs.4,330 crore from the Centre for drought relief.
Maharashtra government, which already has declared 14,708 villages as "drought-affected", also announced addition of 1,420 villages from Buldhana district to the list of parched hamlets, state agriculture minister Eknath Khadse said.
Khadse on Saturday chaired a meeting to assess drought situation in the state which was attended by the chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya, relief and rehabilitation secretary Govindraj and principal secretary (agriculture) D K Jain.
"It was decided that the government would send a memorandum to the Centre seeking Rs.4,330 crore for giving financial assistance to the drought-hit villages for the kharif season of 2015," Khadse told reporters.
Khadse said he had spoken to the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh for assistance to the state.
"Singh told me that officials of his ministry were in Bihar on poll duty. Once they return, the decision to send a Central team to Maharashtra would be taken within a week," he said.
The Centre has already given an assistance of Rs.920 crore to the state which faced one of the worst droughts of the last fifty years this monsoon even as the yield of crops in the drought-hit villages was less than 50 per cent, he said.
The farmers will get an assistance of Rs.6,800 up to two hectares for rain-fed crops where the crop loss has been more than 33 per cent. They will be entitled to both the drought relief and the crop insurance benefits, Khadse added.
In all, some 60 lakh farmers in drought-hit villages will be entitled for the drought relief, while 80 lakh farmers across the state will get the benefit of crop insurance scheme, he said.
The majority of villages (8,522) of the total 14,708, where drought is declared, fall under Aurangabad division in Marathwada region, while Buldhana district falls under the Amravati division in Vidarbha region of the state.