Maha CM asks jr ministers to tour drought-hit districts

Mumbai: Apparently dissatisfied over state Revenue minister Eknath Khadse's decision to close fodder camps, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed junior cabinet-rank ministers to supervise relief work in drought-affected Beed, Osmanabad and Latur districts.

Fadnavis has also asked Cabinet ministers Vinod Tawde, Pankaja Munde, Chandrakant Patil and Deepak Sawant to coordinate the day-long visits of 30 such ministers who will review the government's drought relief measures at taluka level, a senior minister in the state cabinet said.

Meanwhile, Khadse denied that his decisions are being overruled by Fadnavis.

"The government has already communicated the collectors of the three districts with the decision not to shut down the cattle fodder camps," Khadse said.

He said the decision was taken based on the reports by the district collectors who had informed availability of estimated 11 to 12 lakh metric tonnes fodder due to the unseasonal rains during the Rabbi season.

"The decision is not like a divine ordination which cannot be changed anytime. The district collectors in the earlier order have been told to ensure that no cattle is deprived of fodder and water. Unauthorised cattle fodder camps need to seek permission and there cannot be two cattle camps within a radius of 500 metres," Khadse said.

At present there are 2.08 lakh cattle in camps and around 237 such camps are in operation in the three parched districts in Marathwada region, he said.

Speaking to reporters over recent rollbacks of government decisions, Minister for Cooperation Chandrakant Patil said there was no communication gap amongst the cabinet ministers and the administration.

"If elected representatives ask the government to  reconsider its decision, the government does reconsider," Patil said.

The chief minister had yesterday asked the cabinet sub-committee headed by Khadse to reconsider its decision of closing the cattle fodder camps in drought-affected Beed, Osmanabad and Latur.

Patil said during the tour the ministers will review the implementation of government relief measures in the talukas and submit report before the upcoming budget session of the state assembly.

The ministers will inspect whether the farmers are getting subsidised foodgrains, fodder for cattle, whether water tankers are being deployed, tuition fees of children of farmers are being waived off, among others, he said.

"One minister will visit one taluka place and review the working of the administrative machinery and hear out public grievances. The tour will be held before the ensuing budget session of the state legislature due to commence from March 9 and they will submit report to the CM," Patil said.

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