Announcing the relief in the state legislature here, he also said the government will "take over" the private loans of around half a million farmers mainly in Vidarbha and Marathwada, the worst affected regions of the state reeling under a severe drought.

"We shall prepare a detailed plan on this aspect and shall ensure that the farmers can avail of institutional finance, as loans are the major cause of suicides," Fadnavis said.

The farmers in these regions would also be entitled to waiver of electricity bills for three months, besides restructuring of existing farm loans, he said.

An amount of Rs.3,925 crore will be spent for the drought-hit farmers in around 20,000 villages and the government proposes to make 5,000 villages "drought-free" within a year, he added. A central team will arrive here Dec 14-15 for an assessment of the drought situation in the state following the Fadnavis government's demand for a suitable aid package.

Last month, the state government had demanded a central aid of Rs.4,000 crore for the drought hit regions where over 1,400 farmers have committed suicide in the past six months.

Earlier this morning over 500 debt-hit farmers, under the banner of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, burnt copies of the Bharatiya Janata Party manifesto and flayed the government for reneging on its promises of aid to the farming community.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress and Nationalist Congress Party criticized the aid package terming it as inadequate and lacking clarity on many aspects.

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