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Maharashtra CM rushes Delhi to seek central aid

Accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers, legislators, parliamentarians and officials, Chavan will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday, an official source close to him said here.

Chavan's trip comes barely 10 days after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi toured some drought-hit areas of the state. Governor K. Sankaranarayanan had also on May 4 warned of serious crisis if the water shortage was not tackled on a war-footing.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan

"The chief minister will seek immediate central assistance of Rs.2281.37 crores and 500,000 tonnes foodgrains at subsidized rates to tide over the crises affecting the state," the official told IANS.

The aid sought will be in accordance with central government norms governing those farmers who have suffered losses in kharif and rabi crops this year, including Rs.782.11 crore for the small farmers.

Besides, another Rs.73.60 crore will be demanded for compensating fruit cultivators who suffered loss of crops due to various factors, Rs.129.39 for water supply projects, Rs.300 crore for check dams and Rs.700 crore for pending medium irrigation projects around the state.

Drought-like situation and water crisis has gripped 6,201 villages spread in 15 districts across Northern, Western and Central parts of the state during the current summer season, the official said.

This has created major problems of drinking water, irrigation and fodder, which the state hopes to solve with the central aid, he added.

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