Maha to bring 70% produce under crop insurance
Considering three consecutive years of drought in Marathwada region, the Maharashtra government is trying to bring more farmers under the crop insurance net to compensate them for failed crops. Senior officials from the state Agriculture Ministry said that at present only 30% of farmers are covered under the Prime Minister's Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY). The government intends to raise this target to 70%.
Abysmal state of Latur
According to a government report, water availability per capita in "Marathwada is the lowest among all the regions of Maharashtra at 438 cubic meters per person." Moreover, most of the water is supplied to sugar mills while the public remains water deprived. The government does not shut the mills because doing so would mean no money to the agriculturists in a farmer-suicide prone region.
Water is a status symbol in Marathwada
A person's social standing in the Marathwada region is defined by the storage capacity of the water-tank a family owns. The rich have "10,000 litre tanks, while the less fortunate have to make do with 100 litres."
Prohibitory orders in Latur to check water-violence
The District collector in drought-hit Latur district gave prohibitory orders to prevent violence around the civic body run water tanks. The order forbade more than 5 people from gathering around 20 water tanks. The direction was given under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code as a preventive measure. The official said the prohibited sites included all tanker-filling points, tanker-plying routes and storage tanks.
Latur drought an extreme case of government's negligence: Residents
The 1,200,000 residents struggling to get water in Latur blamed the crisis on "sheer negligence" and "mismanagement" of politicians and the local administration. The residents claimed that the government had failed to repair the around "45,000 leakages to the main pipeline that transports water along the 45 km from Dhanegaon to Latur." People have had to buy water from private vendors for Rs.150/10 liters.
Prohibitory orders in place in Parbhani too
After Latur, the drought hit Parbhani district too got prohibitory orders from the state administration. The administration prohibited the assembly of 5 or more people near all the water reservoirs in the region in order to prevent a law and order situation. The Leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil criticised the Fadnavis government for imposing such orders and not providing adequate water.
Latur to get water through trains in 15 days
Maharashtra's revenue minister Eknath Khadse announced that the drought hit Latur district in Marathwada region would be supplied water through train in 15 days. He said if need be, water will be procured from Telangana. The minister, refuting former CM Prithviraj Chavan's claims said that the BJP-led government in Maharashtra did not lack the 'political will' to resolve the water shortage.
First water-train leaves Miraj to quench Latur's thirst
Maharashtra government's efforts to help Latur, saw the first 'water train' leave from Miraj in western Maharashtra to the drought-hit Latur in Marathwada region. The train with 10 water-carrying wagons is expected to reach Latur later in the day. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu announced that "50 tank wagons steam cleaned reached Miraj for Latur." CM Fadnavis said everything was being done to provide relief.
Kejriwal offers 1 million litres of water per day to Latur
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote a letter to PM Modi praising him for helping the people of Latur by sending 'water trains'. He said that Delhi was willing to send 1 million litres of water to the parched Latur per day for 2 months. Delhi Jal Board claimed that sending water to Latur would not affect water availability in Delhi.
Wells in Latur run dry after 100 years
For the first time in over a century, the wells in Latur have begun to run dry, indicating the severity of the drought in the Marathwada region. State revenue minister Eknath Khadse said senior government officials have made a detailed presentation before the Central Water Commission team, of measures that could be taken. Groundwater levels also dropped significantly in Kolhapur.