Facing flak for its inability to control drought in the state, the government on Thursday announced it will supply 25 lakh litres of water through railway wagons to Latur within a fortnight. The state also plans to start a food supply scheme for those who have migrated out of drought-hit areas.
State relief and rehabilitation minister Eknath Khadse said the plan has been approved. “For the first time, the government will supply water through rail wagons. We have finalised the plan. The water will be supplied within a fortnight.”
Responding to a suggestion by former minister Arif Naseem Khan, food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat said, “We will look at introducing temporary ration cards for those who were forced to migrate out of drought-hit areas. The fear with such a scheme is it might encourage more people to migrate. But we will still look at the scheme for areas that have received migrants, to ensure food security till at least the start of monsoon.”
Bapat said the state was considering re-starting the food subsidy plan that was introduced by the previous government for the 1.7 crore above poverty line (APL) card-holders in the state. “We will save food grain worth Rs1,000 crore once we link all ration cards in the state to Aadhaar, which will help weed out bogus card holders and black-marketers,” said Bapat.
Meanwhile, Khadse stoked a controversy by saying, “Latur is the hometown of a former chief minister who had an eight-year tenure and was a minister for 25 years. It’s very unfortunate that despite this it is seeing such tough days. Instead of helping the city, people built barrages on the Manjara dam and drew water for their own sugar factories.”
‘Provide water first, chant slogans later’
The Shiv Sena on Thursday took a dig at CM Devendra Fadnavis for his remarks over ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ asking him to first provide water to the thirsty. “The drought situation has worsened in the state and the problem will not be solved by chanting Bharat Mata Ki Jai,” read the editorial in Saamna, the party mouthpiece.