State revenue minister Eknath Khadse faces criticism over his visit to drought-hit Latur district in a helicopter on Friday, for which 10,000 litres of water was used to prepare a helipad. The controversy comes weeks after Congress MLA Amit Deshmukh was criticised for using large quantities of water for a sports tournament on his birthday.
Khadse had convened a meeting at Latur on Friday to take stock of the situation there and to visit the lower Terana water project at Belkund in Latur’s Ausa taluka. His helicopter ride, however, meant that 10,000 liter of water had to be used to prepare a helipad at Belkund, one of the worst-affected villages in Marathwada, which saw the highest number of suicides in the region last year.
The opposition lambasted the minister, saying he could have saved water by using Latur airport, just 45 km away. “It shows the arrogance of power and non-seriousness of the government. He could have saved water and resources by travelling by road,” said Nawab Malik, chief spokesperson of Nationalist Congress Party.
Khadse, however, refuted the allegations. “We have been trying to take speedy measures to mitigate the drought in Marathwada. There is nothing wrong in using a helicopter for any meeting. What is wrong if a few litres of water are used for it? Blowing the issue out of proportion is unfortunate,” he said.
Three weeks ago, Congress MLA Amit Deshmukh faced flak for using thousands of litres of water for sports tournament on his birthday. He eventually had to cancel the tournament.