State seeks water from AP, K’taka

The Maharashtra government has urged the Centre to increase from Rs 778 crore to Rs 2,500 crore allocation to tackle drought in several districts of the state.

It will also seek help from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. An eight-member team of officials will soon visit the neighbouring states to discuss water.

A senior secretary in CMO said, "Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has apprised the Centre of developments related to the water crisis. He has also discussed the issues with the Karnakata CM. In the past, Maharashtra has helped Karnakata with water."

As many as 123 talukas in Marathwada, north Maharashtra and parts of Western Maharashtra are facing a severe water crisis.

To help the affected, Chavan and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar will take up higher allocation with PM Manmohan Singh next week. The unprecedented decline in water levels in dams such as Jayakwadi and Ujjaini has set alarm bells ringing. The state is confident water will last for another 40 days, but the onset of summer at February-end is likely to aggravate the crisis.

CM admitted, "The situation in Beed, Jalna, Osmanabad and Solapur is grave. Sustained efforts are needed to overcome the water crisis."

Pawar said, "The current water crisis surpasses the 1972 drought."

Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde, who represents the Beed constituency, said, "The state government is blind to ground realities. Even in December, people in Beed, Jalna and Osmanabad are not getting regular water supply. Even water supply through tankers is irregular. People are getting rationed water once a week."

In the remote villages of north Maharashtra the crisis is worse. Leader of opposition in state assembly Eknath Khadse said, "So severe is the crisis, people are now used to getting water once in 8-10 days in Jalna."

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