Congress NCP drought

Mumbai: Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil Thursday alleged that the Maharashtra government has failed to implement drought relief measures and carry out recruitment drive.

Addressing a press conference at the end of the budget session, Vikhe Patil said the opposition had planned that it would highlight the failures of the government during a debate on the vote-on-account presented in the legislature on Wednesday.

“However, due to tension between India and Pakistan, the session had to be curtailed. So, we tabled what we had to say on the floor of the House. Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar has assured to respond to our views in writing within a week’s time,” the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly said.

Vikhe Patil added that despite announcing a mega recruitment drive last year, the government was yet to initiate the process. The BJP-led dispensation has failed also to implement drought relief measures, he said.

Leader of Opposition in the Council Dhananjay Munde accused the BJP of politicising the issue of national security.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi is addressing BJP booth workers campaigning for elections despite tension at the border,” he alleged.

Congress-NCP govt’s own record in handling drought

It is ironical that one of the rallying points of the opposition at the time of the Congress-NCP government of Maharashtra was the state of abject neglect in which the farm sector lay.

“There is no water. Then what do we release? Should I urinate in the dam? And when we are not getting water to drink, it won’t be easy to pass urine,” Ajit Pawar, the nephew of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, then Deputy Chief Minister of the State and senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, had said in April 2013.

Ajit Pawar had to resign for his alleged involvement in the Rs. 70,000 crore irrigation scam as he held the irrigation and water resources portfolio for a nearly a decade. However, the party reinstated him later.

Farm sector data at the time of Congress-NCP rule

  • Land for sugarcane cultivation: 1 million hectare out of Maharashtra’s 17.3 million hectare farm land
  • Water consumption by sugarcane arms: 70% of total water towards crops
  • Cooperative sugar factories: 202
  • Private mills: 68
  • Ownership of private mills: Mostly Congress and NCP leaders
  • Daily crushing capacity: 2,500-10,000 tonne
  • Total investment in sugar, by-products and co-generation: Rs 30,000 crore
  • Industry’s annual turnover is Rs 20,000 crore solely through the sale of sugar
  • Factories’ water consumption: 1.5-3 lakh litres
  • Water requirement: 3,500 litres a kg
  • Villages facing water crisis: 11,000
  • Villages that recorded a fall of 50% in crop output: 3,905

About 17% of the water from an irrigation project’s command area used to be consumed by sugarcane, compared with 2% by oilseeds and 4.5% by pulses.