Revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat announced in the state council that authorities had been directed to not allow the misuse of the water for Holi celebrations in light of the acute shortage of the water in the state.
The announcement came after some members informed the upper house about the misuse of the water by spiritual guru Asaram and his followers in Nagpur.
Kapil Patil (Lokbharti), Sanjay Dutt (Congress) and Neelam Gorhe (Shiv Sena) raised the issue through a point of propriety in the council on Monday. Dutt said Asaram and his followers wasted lakhs of litres of water in Nagpur on Sunday. He demanded action against the officials of the Nagpur municipal corporation to avail water stock to the organisers. Patil said that Asaram was involved in several crimes in the past and demanded action against him. Gorhe told the house that similar holi celebration was organised by the Bapu followers on Monday afternoon.
Balasaheb Thorat said that he has spoken to the collectors of the districts concerned and directed them to not allow the misuse of the water. He said that no water will be supplied by the government authorities for the holi celebration.
Activist asks court to intervene
A social activist has written to the Chief Justice of the Bombay high court asking the court to restrain the public from wasting water during Holi celebrations on March 26 and 27.
The letter sent by Vishnu Gawli has specifically sought to restrain the festivities scheduled by religious leader Asaram Bapu celebrating Holi across Maharashtra thereby wasting thousands of litres of water in the drought-affected state.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta has however asked Gawli to file a proper public interest litigation (PIL) to pursue the issue even though Gawli had urged the court to convert his letter into a PIL.
According to the letter, when the state is facing severe drought situation, wasting of water is criminal act. Gawli states that he had also approached commissioner of police and municipal commissioner of Navi Mumbai seeking restrain on Asaram.
TMC engineer suspended
Thane commissioner RA Rajeev has suspended TMC engineer Prakash Kathkade for supplying 10 water tankers to Asaram for the Holi event at Patni grounds in Navi Mumbai. The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation, which had earlier committed to supplying the water, changed their minds at the last minute. However, Kathkade, a junior engineer, sanctioned 10 water tankers for March 17 and 18. Rajeev said, “I have suspended Kathkade for sanctioning the water tankers and have initiated an inquiry by Girish Mehendale, deputy city engineer. Kathkade disconnected HT’s calls and did not respond to SMSes.