The depressing situation of drought affected Marathwada region of Maharashtra echoed in the Parliament on Monday when members of the house raised the issue in the question Hour. While answering a question Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that Dams in Maharashtra were constructed only to benefit the sugar industry not the farmers. Minister’s comments lead to a war of words between the treasury and opposition benches,
Singh was replying to a supplementary by a Shiv Sena member during Question Hour on whether government will extend relief to the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra for drought, some Congress members asked whether the relief would be extended.
He said that dams were constructed in Maharashtra to serve the interests of the sugar industry and not the farmers.
“I demand a discussion on Maharashtra drought so that facts can come to light,” he said.
On Monday, the first day of the present session of Parliament Lok Sabha members expressed concern over the unprecedented situation due to drought, scarcity of water and the heat wave in large parts of the country.
Raising the issue in the Zero Hour, Congress member Mullappally Ramachandran said the devastating drought conditions have affected more than a quarter of the 1.25 billion population and asked it be declared as a “national disaster” and immediate assistance be provided to the people.
“People by and large are in deep distress and they are panicky about the prevailing situation. Reports say that we are experiencing the world’s fifth deadliest heat wave,” said Ramachandran.
He said the entire country was facing acute shortage of water and reservoirs and rivers are drying up. The Supreme Court has expressed dissatisfaction about the way in which such a grave situation is being dealt with by the Union Government.
More heat is expected to rise between opposition and the Ruling NDA tomorrow when the Parliament discusses the Drought issue under Rule 177 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business.
Opposition parties along with Congress have been training their guns on the government on drought accusing it of turning a “blind eye” to the problem. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad along with other MP’s have already given a notice to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari in this regard, which has been admitted.
Maharashtra is witnessing the worst drought in the Marathwada region affecting lives of thousands.