Sugar mills to aid drought relief

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TNN | Mar 17, 2013, 02.21 AM IST

PUNE: State co-operation minister Harshvardhan Patil on Saturday said that sugar factories in the state will contribute about Rs 67.50 crore towards drought management and its mitigation. Patil said the state cabinet has committed to give one-month salary of all ministers to the state's drought relief fund.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, Patil said, "Many parts of the state are reeling under drinking water crisis. The situation is grim in Marathwada as well as parts of western Maharashtra and Vidarbha. The government is initiating all required steps to provide drinking water to people and fodder to animals in drought-hit areas."

The minister conducted a meeting of officials of cooperative societies, cooperative banks and sugar factories wherein he appealed to them to contribute funds to tackle drought.

Patil said, "We have asked sugar factories to contribute. The contribution will be Rs 10 per tonne of sugarcane crushed. The factories are expected to crush about 675 lakh metric tonne sugarcane in the current season, hence, the contribution should be around Rs 67.50 crore. The funds will be handed over to the chief minister's fund for drought. It will be used to supply drinking water and fodder."

Patil said the ongoing crushing season is in its last phase. Sugar factories already done with crushing have been asked to provide trucks and tractors to the government for carrying water tanks to drought-hit areas. They also have been asked to start fodder camps on their premises.

Patil said that cooperative societies have assured contribution in implementing steps to tackle drought. He said there was no compulsion for societies to contribute, however, the government was expecting a positive response.