The visit of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to Lalitpur on Tuesday has got mired in controversy as thousands of litres of water was allegedly used to ensure a dust-free makeshift helipad at a time when the area is witnessing drought.
The chief minister’s visit was to review drought situation and provide relief measures. Lalitpur is part of the Bundelkhand region which is reeling under severe water crisis.
A local outfit cricitised the move and demanded strong action against those responsible.
“Strong action should be taken against those responsible for the massive wastage of scarce water,” said leader of Bundelkhand Vikas Sena Harish Kapur ‘Titu’ on Wednesday.
During the visit, Yadav accused the Centre of turning a blind eye to drought-hit Bundelkhand and said his government would make a separate provision in the budget for the region, if needed.
Yadav’s visit comes just days after a similar controversy involving Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse when he allegedly permitted the use of 10,000 litres of water to prepare a helipad for his visit to drought-hit Latur district. The state revenue minister had gone to Latur to take stock of the daily “Water Train” which had been supplying around 5.50 lakhs water daily for the thirsty people of the district.
Maharashtra is reeling from severe drought, with the Marathawada region being the worst affected.
Instead of making the hour-long drive in the 42 degrees Celsius heat, Khadse decided to hop onto a helicopter for the function. Accordingly, a temporary helipad was prepared on the outskirts of the small village with a population of around 3,000.
Local television channels showed at least two water tankers were brought to wet the helipad, make the landing area firm and to ensure that dust settled was prevented from rising when the chopper landed.
Though Khadse admitted that some water may have been used to prepare a firm landing pad, he stoutly denied that water was wasted. The move, however, attracted criticism from various quarters.