The state government will not stop supplying water to breweries and distilleries in drought-hit Marathwada , at least for now.
While Opposition parties are demanding that the government stops giving water to beer and liquor factories, on Monday, state water resources minister Girish Mahajan said water supply to beer and liquor units in Aurangabad - where a majority of beer and liquor factories are located - had already been cut by 20% till the end of the month, and the situation will be reviewed after that.
“Water supply to breweries and distilleries in Aurangabad has been reduced by 20%, and for other industries, a 10% water cut has been imposed. The government has decided to continue with this. We will review the situation on April 30,” Mahajan told HT.
In the meanwhile, Aurangabad district collector Nidhi Pande has directed a water audit of industries and liquor units to find ways to conserve water.
The BJP-led government’s decision comes despite opposition from ally Shiv Sena, which said supplying drinking water should be the government’s priority. In an editorial on Monday in its mouthpiece Saamna, the Sena slammed comments by BJP minister Pankaja Munde defending the water supply to breweries. “Some BJP ministers are of the view beer manufacturing units should get uninterrupted supply of drinking water. But, people want human lives to be saved first.”
The state has been facing an acute shortage of water, with several areas in Marathwada being among the worst hit. Thousands of tankers with drinking water has been sent to the region.
Authorities in Aurangabad said they are working out ways to conserve water. Pande had announced the water cuts for industries on April 16 and has now decided to conduct an audit . Pande told HT water management is the need of the hour and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) has been directed to conduct a water audit . “Water audit of industries related to distilleries, breweries and beverage units will be done in the days to come. This will help find out if water can be conserved and if consumption can be reduced . On April 30, we will review the impact of the water cut and if we feel budgeting in this way helps, without causing damage to this industry, we will continue with it,” Pande said.