Amidst attack over neglect towards farmers and crops severely damaged due to rains in various districts of Maharashtra, the state Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday held meeting with the key officials and directed the officials to handle the situation very sensitively and on a priority basis. He also asked the officials to keep response mechanism in place like during drought times in every district so that every farmer grievance can be heard. CM also asked officials to give WhatsApp numbers to communicate directly.

CM’s directives come few hours after the Nationalist Congress Party chief and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar visited rain affected farms and met couple of farmers in Nashik district in north Maharashtra to take stock of the situation. Pawar asked the local officials to provide all the necessary relief to the rain affected farmers.

Fadnavis swung into action after opposition stepped up attack saying that while BJP and Shiv Sena are currently engaged in verbal duel over the government formation, farmers badly affected due to extended rains continue to wait for relief from the government. Shiv Sena on Thursday met the state Governor Bhagat Singh Koshari and pressed for prompt financial aid for farmers hit by untimely rains.

The weather bureau has already predicted moderate rainfall in Konkan and Goa, Madhya Maharashtra and south Gujarat during next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Fadnavis told TV channel that ‘’ This year rains has been unprecedented, especially due to four cyclones including one super cyclone. Most of the damages were done in second and third week of October. The government has allowed even photos clicked by farmers as evidence.

Fadnavis informed that 54.22 lakh hectare area was affected in 325 talukas comprising 46 talukas in Konkan (97,000 hectare), 52 talukas in Nashik (16 lakh hectare), 51 talukas in Pune (more than 1.36 lakh hectare), 72 talukas in Aurangabad (22 lakh hectare), 56 talukas in Amravati (12 lakh hectare) and 48 talukas in Nagpur (40,000 hectare). Major crops affected include jowar, maize, paddy, tur, cotton and soybean.

The government has amended its notification and the word “unseasonal rains’’ incorporated along with heavy rains. Fadnavis has directed for immediate drone survey of affected area.

Fadnavis in his tweet said,’’ We are closely monitoring complete situation. Directed the district guardian ministers and public representatives for field visits and be bridge between farmers and government. We have called Cabinet Sub Committee meeting tomorrow. Government will stand firm with the farmers.’’