Mumbai: Maharashtra government has been receiving help from unexpected quarters during the water crisis, but it was surprised to receive a bill of Rs 4 crore from Railways for sending water wagons to drought-hit Latur in Marathwada. The state government, in a meeting held in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, has requested the Centre to waive off the bill in view of the grim situation in the state.
So far, 6.20 crore litres of water have been sent to the district.
After the state expressed its desire for Railways to lend a helping hand with drought relief, the latter in an unprecedented move immediately dispatched trains with 10 wagons each to Latur last month carrying water from Miraj in western Maharashtra. This had brought cheer to Latur citizens, who were finding it difficult to rely solely on government tankers for the water. Later, the wagons were increased to 50 to bear more water.
Talking about the unexpected bill received from Railways, a senior official in Mantralaya said, on condition of anonymity, “We have received a bill from Railways. But we were not expecting it to charge us for its help. We have requested the Centre to waive off the bill, as the state is already reeling under the drought and finding it tough to gather resources.”
Latur has been facing water problems for a long time. Due to lack of rainfall, all its water resources dried up completely in March.
In the past, the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government had also chalked out a plan to provide water via train wagons, but it was kept on the backburner owing to the high cost of transportation.
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