Responding to the statewide outrage over the drought-like situation, the state government released Rs250 crore for drought mitigation measures. The district collectors have been directed to not disconnect water connections of those who have defaulted on bills.
Nearly 157 talukas of the total 355 districts and 6,200 villages have been reeling from water scarcity. Almost all the districts of Marathwada have acute water shortage, while in some districts, such as Beed, people have started migrating to urban areas as the drinking water prices have begun touching the roof.
Relief and rehabilitation minister Patangrao Kadam said the government has chalked out the mitigation plan in two phases. First will be from January to March and the second for the next three months. “We have released Rs250 crore to ensure that drinking water and fodder for cattle are provided with top priority,” he added.
Agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said there was discontent among people over disconnection of water supply. “Rabbi productivity has been badly affected and production in 150 talukas has dropped below 50%. This will pose a challenge in the next six months,” he said.
The percentage of water stock in Marathwada region in big dams has dropped to 16%, as against the stock in rest of the state, which is near 50%.
Last week, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan had announced that the situation in Marathwada was a big challenge before the government. He said that despite the budgetary provision for water supply, the question remains where to fetch it from. In some talukas the stock available was nearly 100km away.
The state cabinet has convened a special meeting on Friday to discuss the situation.