Railways wants Rs. 9.90 cr from Latur for water train during 2016 drought
Towards the end of July, 2016, Jaldoot Express had completed 100 trips to Latur, carrying potable water and coming as a saviour for the parched city.Updated: Sep 06, 2019, 12:56 IST
The drought-hit Latur Municipal Corporation has expressed inability to pay dues of Rs 9.90 crore raised by the Central Railways towards the special ‘Jaldoot’ water train that was rushed to Marathwada during the drought of 2016.
In a telephonic interview on Friday, Latur municipal commissioner Devendra Singh said, “It is true that the railways have asked for a payment of Rs 9.90 crore for providing water in 2016. The letter was not received directly by us, but by the district collector. The district collector’s office has intimated us to make the payment.”
Singh said in view of the weak financial condition of the civic body, the district administration has requested the state government to make the payment. Latur district collector G Sreekant said he would speak on the issue later.
Towards the end of July, 2016, Jaldoot Express had completed 100 trips to Latur, carrying potable water and coming as a saviour for the parched city. The express, on its 100th trip, had 50 wagons and its arrival with water from Miraj in western Maharashtra, was commemorated with a small function.
The then Railway minister Suresh Prabhu had tweeted, “Jaldoot –water-carrying train reached Latur yesterday, on its 100th trip. Thank rain gods for showering Latur. Hope plentiful rains come.”
Central Railways had supplied 25 lakh litres of water from Miraj in Sangli district to Latur. Introduced for the first time in Maharashtra, the train had only 25 wagons.
Singh said the letter was received recently even as the need for a water train during the current drought in Marathwada was being discussed by the district authorities.
Although many parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai, Pune and the Satara-Sangli-Kolhapur region have received heavy rains, Marathwada continues to be ravaged by drought this monsoon.
Latur district, with 21 % monsoon rainfall deficiency as of September 4, is the second-most drought affected district in Maharashtra after Beed.
The district, with a population of 24.5 lakh, is dependent on the Manjara dam which went dry in January itself. Presently, 136 water tankers have been deployed by the administration to meet the water demand in 61 villages and seven hamlets.