'Public representatives should get corporates to aid drought relief'
Feb 15, 2013 (Hindustan Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Union agriculture minister and Nationalist Congress Party boss, Sharad Pawar, has put the onus of generating funds for mitigating severe drought on elected representatives from Mumbai. He said that corporate houses and charitable institutions should be made to chip in generously for the cause.
Pawar said that Mumbai has always stood by the state in times of crisis. Since the state government has its headquarters in the commercial capital of the country, the government and its representatives should ensure that Mumbai lends a helping hand to provide financial aid for the rest of Maharashtra.
Pawar, who assured maximum central funds for drought relief, directed the government to generate financial help from the industrial sector.
Pawar said this on Thursday at a customary meeting of all-party members of Parliament convened by the state government ahead of Union budget session.
Congress has highest number of MLAs and MPs in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra, and unlike the NCP, it hasn't yet started efforts to gather funds at party-level. While the NCP has been batting for raising funds from outside, the Congress has claimed that the government had sufficient funds for drought relief. Sources said that the Congress feared that seeking funds from private parties would be politically incorrect ahead of next year's Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Pawar and other senior NCP leaders took the lead in visiting the drought-affected areas, especially in central Maharashtra. While Chavan toured the area a day after Pawar's extensive visit, he ensured that he got feedback via video-conferencing early this week.
Taking a dig at Chavan, Pawar said that the state government should emphasise on marketing industrial development.
"We have launched initiatives such as Advantage Vidarbha, which will begin in the next few weeks. We have no load-shedding for industries in the state. Though the rate of power for the industries needs to be settled, we will fulfill their power demands," said Chavan later.
Chavan said that the government has started seeking help from charitable institutions, banks and organisations. "The water tanks in the drought-hit areas have been sponsored by banks in the respective areas."
Reacting to criticism over his donation for drought relief, RR Patil had said earlier, "If my donation is a publicity stunt, what about donations from government and charities "
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