Nisha Nambiar | TNN
PUNE: Maharashtra’s water crisis is set to intensify. The drinking water and sanitation department has registered a record 283% rise in tanker demand in the state.
Nearly 10,506 hamlets and 4,920 villages, in six revenue divisions, are now parched. The numbers are expected to rise given the continuing heatwave, the depletion of dam stocks and the delay in the southwest monsoon’s arrival.
“A total of 6,209 tankers have been pressed into service to supply water to these villages and this number is the highest in Maharashtra’s history. This time last year, only 1,622 tankers were used,” said a senior official of the drinking water and sanitation department. In Pune division alone, 1,016 tankers are supplying water this time — last year, only 67 were required. “Even in 2016, which was a ‘monsoon deficient’ year, around 6,000 tankers were used,” said the official. Rural water and sanitation department officials have listed Nashik, Pune and Marathwada regions as the most affected.
A majority of the tankers in operation are private tankers. Officials said more tenders will be drawn out in case more tankers are required.
In October 2018, the state government had declared a drought in 151 of the 358 tehsils, ie. nearly half the state. In Marathwada, the worst-hit region, the water levels in eight of the nine reservoirs have hit zero. With the monsoon delayed, the demand is on the rise, especially in Aurangabad division.
Though chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had pledged to make the state “tanker-free” by 2019, the demand has peaked this year, a senior Congress leader pointed out. “There has been no respite in spite of the government’s water conservation programme,” he said.
After the LS election, the chief minister had sought the permission of the election commission to ease the model code of conduct rules to allow drought relief works to begin. The government, in a recent meeting, had announced that it has started 1,264 fodder camps for 8.5 lakh livestock, deployed tankers to 12,116 villages, deposited Rs 4,412.57 crore in 68 lakh farmers’ accounts and disbursed Rs 1,100 crore as crop insurance.
Source: Times of India / ReliefWeb / UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com).