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“Is Devendra Fadnavis waiting for an auspicious date to declare a drought in Maharashtra? Has the government started consulting the Panchang before taking important decisions now?” Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Ashok Chavan questioned in Ahmednagar district’s Sangamner as the Congress kept up the pressure on the government to address the severe water scarcity in North Maharashtra and Marathwada.

Reacting to the Chief Minister’s statement that the state would take a decision on whether to declare a drought in North Maharashtra and Marathwada by October 31, Chavan asked why the government had waited so long before taking any concrete action.

“Because of pressure from opposition parties, the Chief Minister had to make a statement on declaring a drought yesterday,” Chavan said. “But his statement that a decision would be taken only by October 31 is just another delay tactic.”

 Accusing the government of mismanagement of priorities and an inability to govern effectively, he said that the Congress’ Jan Sangharsh Yatra - whose second phase ends today - had seen unprecedented levels of anger against the government at the grassroots level.

“Water levels in dams are far below anticipated levels. Severe water shortage is seen across the region,” Chavan said. “Every village is demanding that a drought should be declared. Why is the government refusing to listen to the demands of distressed farmers?”

Chavan also pointed out as to to how loads hedding had already begun in several parts of Maharashtra.

 “There is no water to irrigate fields. There is no electricity to draw water from bore wells,” Chavan said. “How is a farmer supposed to survive?”

 He also claimed that the flagship schemes of this government had proven to exist only on paper.

 “Where is the farm loan waiver promised by Chief Minister Fadnavis two years ago? How much money has reached the people?” Chavan asked. “The UPA undertook the country’s largest farm loan waiver in 24 hours in 2009. The NDA’s farm loan waiver exists only on banners and advertisements.”

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