Water shortage woes deluge Parliament

Rivals AIADMK and DMK, and Left parties joined hands in highlighting the crisis faced by states; Shiv Sena MP urges priority for irrigation projects in Marathwada

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Water shortage woes deluge Parliament
Residents gather to fill empty containers with water from a municipal tanker in Chennai


The staring water crisis in several states found a strong reflection in Parliament on Wednesday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members cutting across party lines in Rajya Sabha came on the same page in assessing the dangerous unfolding situation and suggesting ways to resolve it.

Referring to the grim issue in his reply to the debate on the motion of thanks to President's address, PM Modi said the government has marked 226 districts in the country where there is water crisis and needs to be tackled on a mission mode.

"Now I am trying to mobilise everyone to tackle this, how we can give priority to water in MPLAD funds. We also have to make society aware on water issues. A Jal Shakti ministry has also been specifically setup to deal with it," said Modi.

Immediately after PM's reply, the Upper House took up a short duration discussion on the prevailing water crisis in the country. Initiating the debate, Aam Aadmi party member Sanjay Singh cited a media report on depleting water resources. He said though the Delhi government has increased the supply of potable water from 55% to 88%, its water share has come down drastically.

Warning that Delhi could face a severe water crisis in 2020, Singh made a strong pitch to the Centre to increase the water share of Delhi and approve a rain water harvesting project near Yamuna proposed by the Delhi Government.

Tamil Nadu's rival parties AIADMK and DMK and the Left parties joined hands in highlighting the water crisis faced by the state. Bringing out water woes faced by Tamil Nadu, DMK member RS Bharathi regretted that Prime Minister's speech did not mention linking of rivers despite mentioning the issue being in the BJP manifesto. AIADMK member R Vaithilingam said the crisis cannot be solved unless surplus water from Godavari is diverted to Cauvery.

D Raja of CPI also asserted that the Centre should settle the inter-state river disputes as except one, all of Tamil Nadu's rivers are inter-state and the state is lower riparian. He asked for a national consensus on the issue and urged to preserve water bodies on priority basis. "While tackling encroachment of water bodies, corporate and land mafias should also be dealt with as firmly as the poor people are dealt with," said Raja.

Anil Desai of Shiv Sena urged the newly constituted Jal Shakti ministry to give priority to unfinished irrigation projects in Maharashtra especially Marathwada region that is reeling under severe drought.

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