A special water train carrying more than five lakh litres of water has reached Latur district in Maharashtra on Tuesday morning giving temporary relief to the water starved Marathwada region.
“Train with drinking water arrives at drought affected Latur early this morning. Distribution will begin soon.” Said Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis
Locals who have been waiting for water left the station area on Monday night after authorities told them that the train would reach late.
The train took 18 hours to reach Latur after it departed from Miraj in Pune division the train began its journey on April 8 from Kota workshop where it was cleaned.
“The first batches of ten wagons, each with a capacity of around 50,000 litres, were filled with water at Miraj railway station in Sangli district,” said Chief spokesperson of Central Railway Narendra Patil.
The district administration has acquired a huge well located near Latur railway station to store the water which will then be supplied to Latur town.
“It is our trial run to supply water through rail wagons, the train has 10 wagons. We got around 5lakh litre water, we are dumping it in a well and supply it through tankers.” said Sudhakar Telang.
Majority of the Marathwada region is facing severe drought. In Beed, villagers have to go down in the well to fetch water from the well once in two days for which tokens are distributed to prevent water wars.
“We gather to fetch water after tankers pour water into a dried well, sometimes we have to go down in the well to fetch water,” said Utkarsha, resident of Asola village of Beed told media.
The second train consisting of 50 wagons is expected to be ready for water loading around April 15, which will supply 50 lakh liters of water.
Appreciating the central government’s efforts control the worst situation in Marathwada region, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal also offered to send water wagons.
“Severe water crisis in Latur. We all should help. Are all Delhiites ready to save some water daily to send it for our people in Latur?,” the Chief Minister tweeted.
In his letter to Prime Minister Modi Kejriwal said that people of Delhi are ready to send 10 lakh litres of water per day to Latur for the next two months and demanded that the Centre make arrangements for transportation.
“Latur is going through an acute water crisis. The central government has decided to send water to Latur by train. This is an admirable step. It is the responsibility of the entire country to help the people of Latur,” he said.
Apart from sending water wagons to drought hit latur, Centre directed to release MNREGA funds for improving supply of fodder and drinking water in 10 states battling drought
In total, 10 states, including Maharasthra and Karnataka, have declared drought in their parts. More than Rs 10,000 crore central assistance has been given to these states to tide over the situation.