To tackle the water crisis in Marathwada, the state government has decided to open ‘war rooms’ in the four most-affected districts — Osmanabad, Parbhani, Beed and Latur. The unprecedented water scarcity in Latur has further forced the state government to plan bringing water through railway wagons from Pandharpur.
Revenue minister Eknath Khadse met Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu last Thursday to discuss the issue and the railway minister, too, assured his full cooperation.
Official sources said Latur district collector Pandurang Pol has been asked to prepare a detailed plan to store and distribute water that will be brought in bulk through railway wagons.
The government has also allowed him to bring water from a distance of 100km in case of an emergency.
The war rooms will be opened at the offices of district collectorates with senior officers holding the charge. The decision was taken on the directives of the CM Devendra Fadnavis. The move is to ensure all the possible help to the people reeling with drought around the clock, said a senior officer, requesting anonymity.
Khadse said the government is planning to bring water through railway wagons to ensure water supply to Latur until the onset of monsoon. “Railway minister Suresh Prabhu was very positive about our demand. We have also asked him for concessions as bringing water through railway wagons is an expensive affair,” Khadse told HT.
The railway ministry is also checking the availability of reserved wagons that can be used for the transportation of water. Each wagon has a capacity of around 1 lakh litres of water, which will cost the state exchequer around Rs1.5 crore to supply to Latur.
At present, water is being supplied to Latur once a week. The water at Manjara dam has already been exhausted, which is the main source of water for the district. To avoid any scuffle among locals, the Latur district administration has already imposed section 144 of CrPC at six tanker filling points situated at the outskirts of the district as precautionary step.