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Maharashtra drought situation turns grim

Last modified April 04, 2016 10:34

Business Line. Mumbai, 03 April 2016

The water crisis is turning grim in Maharashtra, which has seen successive monsoon failures. The State has only 23 per cent water left in its 2,500-plus reservoirs. In Latur in the Marathwada region, the district collector has imposed prohibitory orders in areas where water is supplied by tankers. About 814 dams and reservoirs in the region only have five per cent water left.

Noted water conservationist Rajendra Singh, who has been touring the affected districts of Marathwada, told that the situation is grim, with no respite in sight. “If a government can have its own reserve police, why can’t it have reserve water supply? The drinking water crisis has been triggered by overexploitation of groundwater,” Singh said. Singh, a recipient of the Magsaysay Award, pointed out that cane crops continue to be watered from groundwater sources in Marathwada. In some areas, borewell water is being drawn from as deep as 1,000 metres below ground, which must be stopped immediately. “Until independence, traditional Indian societies had water reserves, which could last even if there was drought for five years. But in Maharashtra, the water doesn’t last even for two years,” Singh said.

Political commentator Nagesh Kesari said the State government has failed in tackling the drought situation. It was so focussed on ‘Make in India’ programmes that it completely overlooked the emerging water crisis. The recently introduced State Budget should have made a special provision for drought relief, he said. Kesari suggested that in view of the suffering of the people of Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, the government should arrange to bring water from neighbouring Karnataka and Telangana. Rail tankers should have been pressed into service a long back, he added.

Source: Agriculture Today, AgriNews, <sanjay.km15@gmail.com>

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