Though a late burst of rainfall has provided much-needed relief in water scarcity-hit regions of Maharashtra, the state government will continue distributing subsidised foodgrains to poor people there till it exhausts the funds allocated for the purpose.
The state government will continue distributing wheat at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg under the Food Security Scheme to farmers and others in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse said on Friday.
"We will not stop distributing foodgrains at subsidised rates in spite of the good rainfall the drought-hit regions have received. We will keep selling wheat at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg till we exhaust the budget allocated for it," Khadse told PTI.
The foodgrain distribution started on August 15. Marathwada and Vidarbha, traditionally prone to droughts, received bountiful rains spread over 10 days this month.
The late monsoon showers created enough water stock to last till June next year. Also, 7-8 lakh hectares of irrigated land will now be available for cultivation of rabi (winter) crops, he said.
"After good rains in the drought-hit Marathwada and Vidarbha, we now have 7-8 lakh hectares of irrigated land for rabi crops. Without these rains no rabi cultivation would have been possible this year," he added.
Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the state spends around Rs 84 crore a month on providing subsidised foodgrains in eight districts of Marathwada and six of Vidarbha. Around 60 lakh farmers from these regions are availing benefits of this scheme.
According to the reports sent by District Collectors, there is now sufficient water for cattle as well in these two regions.