Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday described the drought situation in Maharashtra as "alarming" and called for urgent steps to overcome water shortage in the State.
A Central team has recommended an assistance of Rs778 crore to Maharashtra Government for setting up fodder and cattle camps and the State Government would get the amount in a week, the NCP leader said.
"This year's drought is very serious. Serious enough to make one lose his sleep," Pawar said after inaugurating the renovated office of his party's state unit here.
Explaining the gravity of water shortage in Maharashtra, Pawar recalled a meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in which the latter dwelt on relocating the three lakh populace of Jalna town in Marathwada region in April-May owing to water shortage.
"There is a need to look at the problem seriously, or else, one cant be sure of what will happen," Pawar said.
Priority should be accorded to providing drinking water for people and cattle in view of the depleting water stock, he said.
The district planning bodies should allocate their remaining budget solely for the purpose of tiding over the water crisis, he said.
Pawar asked his party Ministers and public representatives to take the lead in helping the state combat the prevailing water scarcity.
As many as 123 talukas (blocks) in the State were declared drought-hit in August this year.