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PM Modi Assures Help to Drought-Hit Parts of Maharashtra

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured all possible help to drought-hit areas of Maharashtra and cope with severe water and fodder shortages in parts of Marathwada and Western Maharashtra.

The Prime Minister gave the assurance to NCP chief and former Union Minister Sharad Pawar when he apprised him about the gravity of the scarcity situation in parts of the state.

Mr Pawar, who has been spearheading the agitation for a better deal to people in the state facing the drought, later told reporters that the Prime Minister told him that all possible efforts will be made to provide succour.

Mr Pawar had recently also met Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis on the issue.

The former union minister’s meeting with Mr Modi came on a day when NCP leaders took to the streets in Marathwada region protesting the “apathetic” attitude of the BJP-led government to the plight of farmers.

Mr Pawar told the Prime Minister that while he has seen and tackled several droughts in his 50-year political career, the drought this time was “unprecedented” in its enormity.

The former Agriculture Minister wanted farmers to be compensated for loss of kharif crops and horticultural produce and opening of cattle camps in a big way in drought-hit districts.

He also sought waiver of crop loans or their restructuring, stopping of recovery of all types of dues from dought-hit people and increasing minimum support price of milk.

Mr Pawar said that he also utilised the occasion to draw the government’s attention to the problems of the sugar industry.

He pitched for export of at least 40 lakh tonnes of sugar and wanted assistance to cane growers to face the crisis.