A day after Latur collector Pandurang Pole imposed prohibitory orders, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis realized that if immediate steps were not taken to tackle the drinking water crisis, it would result in a law and order problem in the district. Pole has banned the assembly of five or more persons around 20 water filling points in Latur.
After evaluating a few proposals, when Fadnavis found that it would not be possible to meet the demand for 50 lakh litres per day , he asked Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu to explore the possibility of transporting water by rail network. Prabhu deployed highranking railway board officials to draft an action plan on a war footing. Fadanvis, too, monitored the water supply plan.
“We worked on the proposal for a week and found that if adequate water is made available at Miraj junction, where there’s a 400-year-old well, it would not be difficult to transport water to Latur. We completed the entire project in record eight days,“ Sangli collecto Shekhar Gaikwad told TOI.
He added that the bigges challenge was transportin water from Warna dam to Mi raj junction, a distance of 4.km. “State-run Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran laid a spe cial pipeline in a record period Simultaneously , we cleaned the well, which has the capaci ty of 40 lakh litres.“
Gaikwad said initially , wa ter was transported in 10 wag ons. “We also had to create a new infrastructure at Latur st ation to store and pump out wa ter. My Latur counterpart com pleted the work in record ti me.“ In just one week, Gaikw ad said, it was possible to incre ase the number of wagons to 50, as a result, now, daily 25 lakh litres are supplied to Latur.
A bureaucrat said supply ing water by the rail network i atemporary measure and onc monsoon sets in, the state wil have to draft a new plan to tack le water shortage. “We will have to complete the pending irri gation projects on top priority .–Prafulla Marpakwar