Water scarcity in Maharashtra has still not reached an alarming level to require the Centre to pitch in to announce a compensation for the state, officials said on Thursday.
Though the state has received deficient rainfall this monsoon, water levels in various dams are not alarmingly low and crops have not been damaged on a large scale, they said.
The central government will consider a farmer eligible for compensation if at least 33 per cent of his total sown crops have suffered damage, an official in the state agriculture department said.
“The other factors that the Centre considers crucial are soil moisture and reduced sowing percentage. Maharashtra is not in the ‘severe’ category on any of these parameters,” he said.
Though there is just about 27 per cent water in dams in the Aurangabad division, where many areas received deficient rainfall, the other water bodies like farm ponds and small reservoirs have some stock, he said.
“Also, till the groundwater department does not release its figures, we cannot say that rains earlier have not helped in increasing the groundwater level,” an official in the state relief and rehabilitation department said.
He said as of now, around 320 tankers have been deployed to supply drinking water to various villages facing water shortage. Last year, only 78 tankers were used as there were some good rain spells during the withdrawal of monsoon.
“Crops are partially damaged but the figures are not very huge. Some sporadic good rain spells this year facilitated sowing and crops have grown. If Maharashtra does not get showers in the next 10 to 15 days, some crops will be damaged and rabi sowing will be affected,” he added.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said on Tuesday that around 200 talukas in Maharashtra are facing “scarcity-like” conditions and two senior ministers have been asked to submit a report on this.
“A decision on declaring these talukas as scarcity-hit will be taken by October 31. Later, a central team will visit to review the situation and then a decision on declaring drought will be taken, since it (declaring drought) is in the Centre’s domain,” he had said.
Inputs are being compiled about the prevailing situation for submission to the Centre, he said.