Citizens' Issues
Latur drought: Abundant politics, but no water
Latur and the entire Marathwada region would face mass exodus of residents, if they are not supplied water from outside. Political parties are still busy playing games but people desperately need water and not drama
 
Due to consistent rain deficit for over four years, the entire Marathwada region is facing a severe water shortage. Latur in Marathwade region of Maharashtra is one of the districts where the state government has declared a drought. In fact, this time the situation is so grim that majority of resident from Latur would be forced to migrate, if water is not supplied to the city. During my recent visit, I spoke with several residents. Many of them said that migration is on their mind. Some local people and others who had come from outside for work, have already left the place. Pune is the most favourite destination.
 
Those who have their businesses may find it very difficult to move to other places. However, the salaried class is open to moving given how grim the situation is. Many people are waiting for the school examination. Latur is known as one of the biggest education hub in Maharashtra. Latur is known throughout Maharashtra for its "Latur Pattern" which throws up toppers year after year. Unfortunately, due to the drought, it may not remain an education hub over next few years.
 
Even the business in Latur is adversely affected due to water scarcity. Latur was developed as a trading hub nine decades ago. Being located at the centre of three states, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana, the city is major trading hub for soybean, groundnut, oils, tur dal and jaggery. However, during my visit, I saw empty roads in the mail market, known as Ganj Golai. My friends informed me that some of the shops are unable to make a transaction during the entire day. 
 
At present, people are buying water, but it may also soon stop since there is no water left underground. Most of the bore wells have dried up despite reaching a depth of over 500 feet. Few, which still have some water, may turn dry anytime. "Only our bore well in the entire area behind Dayanand College, has some water. However, we also get just one to three buckets of water after waiting for over 8 to 10 hours. We use this water for cooking and drinking and buy water for other purposes. We pay Rs500-Rs700 for about 5,000 litre tanker that lasts for 15 days," says Arun Lakshete, who runs a printing business.
 
According to Abhay Mirajkar, a journalist, some tanker owners are charging Rs900 to Rs1,100 for a 6,500 litre tanker. "We need to do advanced booking for the water tanker and after waiting for 3-5 days, we get the water. At least we are able to buy it at present, but the situation is becoming very grim every day," said Hamid Shaikh, another journalist.
 
No water since past month
Even during the rainy season, Latur city residents used to get water every 10 days. It increased to 20 days by Diwali, then to once a month in December. However, since first week of January 2016, there is no water supply in most parts of the city from the Latur Municipal Corp, which is under the control of Congress. Some areas like Ausa Road last received water on 21st January after almost a month. But since then the taps are dry.
 
People are buying either water tankers or in cans. While water tankers are charging anything from Rs500 to Rs1,100, even for water cans, people are forced to pay Rs25 and above for 20 litres. Ashok Salgar, who runs a saloon, says, “We have been buying water since Diwali. At present, I am buying 1000 litres of water for Rs150 that lasts for about a week. For the past two months, we have stopped using in-house latrine, except for women members to save water. Even for bathing, we are using half a bucket instead of full bucket.”
 
Some residents fear that from next month onward, even the water from tankers will not be available.  
 
Abundant Politics
The city is known for some famous politicians, like Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was the state Chief Minister twice, and Shivraj Patil Chakurkar, who was Union Home Minister and the Governor of Punjab. But this has made no difference to the Aam Aadmi. Congress leaders like Chakurkar and Deshmukh, especially the later, has turned Latur the party bastion. But this again is not without infighting. The Deshmukh clan has a say over everything in the entire Latur district. However, this hold could not avoid the defeat of Chakurkar in 2004 Lok Sabha election, who had remained undefeated for seven times since 1980. In the next election, after Latur constituency became a reserved seat, Vilasrao Deshmukh managed to get his colleague Jaywant Awale defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Dr Sunil Gaikwad. However, after Deshmukh's demise and due to the Modi wave, Dr Gaikwad managed to win in last Lok Sabha elections.
 
Vilasrao Deshmukh's son Amit is the member of Legislative Assembly from Latur city since 2009. After the demise of Deshmukh, his son is trying very hard to manage the vast network of supporters and local bodies. Besides, BJP there is also a notable presence of Shiv Sena in the city. While, no one was able to match Vilasrao Deshmukh, his son Amit Deshmukh and Amit’s uncle Diliprao Deshmukh, who was state minister too, are not able to either get water make any provision for water supply from the state government.
 
Last year in August, Eknath Khadse, Minister for Relief and Rehabilitation, had said that state government is considering supplying water from Ujani dam near Pandharpur to Latur via railway wagons. "We have instructed officials to calculate the cost of implementing the plan. Each goods train wagon would have a capacity of around 70,000 litres. It is more expensive to supply water on truck tankers than by railways," Khadse had said. But nothing is happening on the ground. In fact, Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Babanrao Lonikar had even denied having any knowledge or information on the issue (of water supply through railway wagons). 
 
Sugar factories to blame? 
Latur receives average rainfall of 725 millimetres every year. This much rainfall is more than sufficient for supplying water for drinking, agriculture and industries. However, with local politicians focussing on sugar factories, the balance in water supply is lost. Farmers are pulling our more water than necessary in order to grow sugarcane, which they think is a cash crop and does not require much efforts or care by them.
 
No wonder, the Latur region has 11 very large sugar factories, most of them established on co-operative basis and controlled by politicians. This also explains why sugarcane farmers were always give first preference in water share, while residents were neglected.
 
Earlier last week, while speaking at Moneylife Foundation’s sixth Anniversary in Mumbai, Dr RC Sinha, Advisor to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, who saved Aurangabad from famine in the 1970s, had said, “During scarcity, all available water should be used only for drinking purpose and not for agriculture, especially for sugarcane. This is because sugar factories are known water guzzlers. You can compensate for the crops losses, but not for humans. So every drop of water needs to be supplied for drinking during the scarcity or drought.”   
 
Old pipelines
While there is scarcity of water in Latur throughout the year, what is more shocking is unnecessary wastage and leakages due to old, rusted pipelines. While everyone talks about getting more water from outside, almost nobody is willing to speak about water wasted in the city.
 
According to Jitu Kore, whose family is living in the city for several generations, “everywhere you will find water leaking out from pipelines (if at all there is any supply) as this entire network is old and fully rusted. In addition, there are no water meters and people often have leaky taps, which leads to shortage in other areas.”  
 
Earlier, there were some efforts to install meters for water taps, but the move was defeated by all political parties. 
 
The question is will anyone from the government start providing water to Latur or let the mass exodus to take place.

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COMMENTS

PRAKASH D. BASRUR

1 year ago

When we all have the "Chalta Hai" attitude under our belief in "Karma Theory" towards what happens to our lives then , I am afraid , nothing at all can change ! Latur is no exception to that ! Once the hard times are over we all get along with our day to day chores as usual ! Who can help us ? The Americans or Japanese or Germans ? Nobody came to our help to get our independence , we had to evolve a Mahatma from amongst us and under him we had to struggle for it on our own ! Perhaps we have to have another charismatic leader who could electrify the nation and make it work for , say , another Independence from lethargy ! By the way , the gigantic projects like "River Linkages" would be beyond the reach of our pigmy minded Khaddar Clad politicians , selfish narrow minded bureaucrats and pen-pushing judiciary ! Maybe we can request the British to take over the management of our country on a consultation fee for next 30 ( if not 50 ) years and solve our problems by planning , coordinating and controlling all aspects of our life i.e. social ,political , administrative ! Haven't the Middle Eastern Arab nations done that successfully ?

Vinod

1 year ago

Even now, there is no sense of urgency. People do not realize the critical condition and no plans to address it. No work on conserving water, no rainwater harvesting, no control over excessive water usage and Sugarcane farming. Even if we survive this worst drought period, and if there are average rains, it will be difficult to keep adequate water supply for the entire year.

REPLY

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

In Reply to Vinod 1 year ago

I agree with you, Vinod Sir.

SuchindranathAiyerS

1 year ago

The power of Pawar. I can never forget the Times Now TV coverage of Farmers protesting Riparian Rights at Pimpri, Pune during the Nehru-Gandhi led Parivar that looted together to stay together as UPA I. The farmers were driven into a corral by Police men with canes and a Police Inspector with a belly with a life of its own that shouted of how free booze is to a Maharashtra cop, walked up to a man who had been pinioned by two constables and shot him through the head at point blank range. It was pulled after a a few re runs, so evidently somebody had been paid off. It gave me night mares and reminded of the iconic Vietnamese photograph of a kneeling man shot through the head. In India, as the Human Rights Commission is a sinecure for Brown Nosed persons who are from the right caste, tribe, gender or religion and have proved themselves to be arithmetic, integrity, erudition and culturally challenged elsewhere, preferably as a member of the Higher Judiciary (as high as only a Kangaroo can jump) India's Politician-Bureaucrat-Judge-Police-Journalist-Crony Kleptocracy is in no danger whatsoever. Further, as the emasculated Indians will suffer any amount of inflation and farmers would rather commit suicide than turn to violence against the tyranny agricultural production, productivity, safety, hygiene and farmer welfare is really not of any concern.The lords and masters of the Indian Empire can afford to import the finest food from around the world for their own tables. The Parliament's Canteen still serves twenty one course meals at some 1 Rupee 67 paise for all you can eat.

Subramani P K

1 year ago

This condition of drought is not in one part of Maharashtra but in every state. While there is floods in some parts there is drought in another. The river linking project is hanging in air since late 50s when Dr. Rao under Nehru ministry was the Minister of water resources who brought the scheme for linking of rivers including Ganga in north to Kaveri in the south. Studies were done, offices were opened and annually a small budget was ear marked & nothing useful happened and one fine morning the offices were closed & the project kept in abeyance. Since then there is only talk & nothing tangible done. Emergency spending for drought & floods done every year in different states in crores benefiting who need not be mentioned. Now that NDA govt. is at the centre can they do something as many of the states are non BJP govts. & they will not allow anything good to happen as in the case of GST Act & many others which the opposition specially congress is vehemently opposing for political reasons. If in the next 3-4 years nothing is done the same condition will be in many places like Lattur in Maharashtra.

REPLY

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

In Reply to Subramani P K 1 year ago

No Government is sensible in India, Subramani.
Sufferings by millions in drought hit areas in the country will continue, year after year.
However, I would like to bring it to your kind notice, as stated by one of my friend, who happen to visit draught hit areas of Rajastan. He was greatly surprised to see reasonably good supply of water in tap in all the houses, where some 50 years ago, ladies have to walk 2 to 5 kms to fetch water.
What arrangement Rajastan Govt. has done to improve potable water situation in its state?
Can any body answer this question?

Meenal Mamdani

1 year ago

People get the politicians they deserve. If people from Latur want to improve their lives, they will have to work hard to nurture and vote for good candidates, irrespective of party label, at the panchayat/municipal level who will implement sensible solutions.

The article points out the causes of water scarcity, namely, low rainfall, lack of rainwater harvesting measures, overuse of groundwater by water guzzling crops like sugarcane, leakages from poorly maintained water pipes in urban areas, absence of water meters that monitor individual water use.

Except for rainfall, all the rest are amenable to human intervention.

If Latur produces toppers in exams, there ought to be social awareness too in this area. Information about local problems is aplenty with newspapers, radio, TV, digital newsmedia, etc. So, are people forming NGOs to solve their own problems or are they waiting for "mai-bap sarkar" to come to their aid?

REPLY

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

In Reply to Meenal Mamdani 1 year ago

I fully agree with you, madam Meenal.

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

1 year ago

Lathur drought situation has nothing to do with any party politicians. Instead of proper planning of rain water, by construction of artificial lakes to store rain water, as is done by Anna Hazare at Ralegaon Siddi, Govt. should use its resources to harvest rain water in such draught prone regions.
Also, water guzzling crops & products, like sugar cane farming and sugar factories should not be permitted in such regions.

Sanjeev Dhabre

1 year ago

Bullet train is sheer waste of money for our country.

REPLY

tikku

In Reply to Sanjeev Dhabre 1 year ago

Agreed. People who cannot eat two meals easily, will never use bullet trains. Ant this nation has majority of poor people.

tikku

1 year ago

Instead of things like bullet trains, a real selfless leader should have thought to consolidate the gains from nature.,--like connecting the rivers, which are aplenty in this country. 1958 had seen a thinker , i forget his name, I think Capt Jahangir, who had thought to defeat floods as well as the drought, by linking the India's rivers. But narrow political ambitions by the successive Govt, only aiming at garnering votes, thought of five year planning, while this newly arisen nation needed long term planning. Had that been done, there would not be any deficit of water throughout India , nor the floods. India would have been the leading nation practically and not only in words as we try to show ourselves.

What're the credentials required to play in IPL?
The defeat on Tuesday in the Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka brought the Indian players down to earth after the auction euphoria of the Indian Premier League (IPL) barely two days before the game.
 
None of the new-found IPL millionaires was playing at Pune, though the highest-paid Indian, Pawan Negi, was in the squad. Nor, for that matter, was half the Sri Lankan team good enough for the franchises of the highly popular Twenty20 pro league.
 
Dominated by the IPL rejects -- Secuge Prasanna, Dasun Shanaka, Milinda Siriwardana, Dishamantha Chameera and Sanchitha Senanayake - the islanders nearly bowled the Indians out for less than a hundred before coasting to a five-wicket victory.
 
The Sri Lankans can raise the inevitable question, what credentials are required to get into an IPL team?
 
Is a good domestic season enough to get the IPL ticket? Or, is the auction windfall truly a lottery? How does a promising overseas player get in?
 
The answer is a bit of luck is essential in getting into the mix of a franchise think-tank. At the end of it all, the teams will have to get the right blend of Indian and overseas players. 
 
If the route to getting into the India side is via the IPL, an India cap can also make one a millionaire as it has happened with Pawan Negi. Negi is seen as skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s choice for the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20. That’s the break he badly needed and a couple of days later he became the highest paid Indian at the auction, though Negi’s promise is unquestioned.
 
Yet, some IPL choices are inconceivable as they defy commonsense and cricketing logic. In an auction where players pitch their base price at Rs.2 crore and Rs.1 crore, do not get sold whereas the ones pricing modestly at less than 10 lakh, become millionaires overnight!
 
To pick the best from a bunch of 351 players going under the hammer is clearly a jugglery for the franchises to get the best buy for the money at their disposal. Imagine only 94 could be accommodated by the eight franchises. Things should improve for players once Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals return to the fold to possibly make it a ten-team format after serving their two-year suspension for marring the spirit of the sport.
 
The unsold players can easily field not one but two teams to challenge the IPL teams. George Bailey, Martin Guptill, Usman Khawaja, Hashim Amla, Tilekeratne Dilshan, Mike Hussey, Adam Voges, Brad Haddin, Darren Sammy, Lahiru Thirimanne, Cameron White, Marlon Samuels, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Nuwan Kulasekera, Manvinder Bisla, Grant Elliot, to name the more popular and acknowledged Twenty20 gypsies, might have expected to be in the league.
 
Bailey, Dilshan, Sammy, Hussey and Bisla not finding place is a little puzzling considering that they have been match-winners not long ago. Sammy and Hussey are actively involved with the global Twenty20 circuit.
 
The only explanation could be as overseas professionals, it would be difficult to accommodate them in the playing eleven. But then someone like Hussey could be of immense value as coach or adviser like Ricky Ponting for Mumbai Indians, Jacques Kallis for Kolkata Knight Riders and Stephen Fleming for CSK. Bailey, who had taken the Kings XI Punjab to the final two years ago was dumped after the team’s poor showing last year.
 
A big shock was Aaron Finch, an acknowledged T20 specialist, scraping through as a last-minute after thought buy.
 
Domestic cricketers can look forward to becoming millionaires as uncapped players had a great auction. Karnataka batsman Karun Nair (Rs.4 crore), Rajasthan fast bowler Nathu Singh (Rs.3.2 crore), Baroda all-rounder Deepak Hooda (4.2 crore) and Tamil Nadu leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin (Rs4.5 crore) barged in on a day when there were no takers for Test left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha after doubts were expressed over his bowling action, though he has been cleared.
 
As the debate rages over the veracity of some of the players getting such huge amounts, the argument in their favour is a fair number of them got in on the strength of their performances on the domestic circuit. Franchise coaches/advisers short-listed them.
 
The most successful Indian batsman at the ongoing Under-19 World Cup Rishab Pant, the team’s captain Ishan Kishan and all-rounder Mahipal Lomror went through the auction taking impressive pay packets to open the doors for the other teenagers.
 
Most of the teams had a clear idea about their playing eleven, particularly which four overseas players can get in. That’s a lot of home work, even if you don’t agree with their calculation.
 
For instance, Royal Challengers will have little maneuverability as their four overseas players are Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, AB De Villiers and Mitchell Starc. Of course, Watson is there as an all-rounder. Interestingly, they were keen on regaining Yuvraj Singh but Sunrisers Hyderabad snatched him.
 
Gujarat Lions, too have a problem as their overseas list include Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Kevin Pietersen, Aaron Finch and Dwayne Bravo and so have Kolkata Knight Riders who have Morne Morkel, John Hastings, Jason Holder and Andre Russell and Shakib Al Hasan.
 
If the Lions have to choose between opening batsmen Finch and Smith, Kolkata will have to pick either Hastings or Holder. The other teams will also have hiccups in selecting their eleven to start with and it is to be seen who grabs the opportunity.
 
At the end of it all, the excitement is to see which teams got their computation right. That will be known when the players get into the field.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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CBI to retain documents seized during Delhi secretariat raid: HC
New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside the order of the trial court directing the CBI to release the documents seized during the raid at the office of Rajendra Kumar, principal secretary to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on December 15, 2015.
 
Justice P.S. Teji said that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will retain the documents seized by it during the raid. "Claim of the CBI to retain the documents justified," it added.
 
The court's order came on a CBI plea challenging a trial court order directing the probe agency to release the documents.
 
The Aam Aadmi Party government had told the court that the CBI was trying to give a "political colour" to the raid and that the agency acted under "political pressure" to indiscriminately seize the documents.
 
The CBI, however, said the documents seized from the office of Rajendra Kumar "prima facie reflect criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct and abuse of official position by the accused people".
 
Defending the seizure of documents from the office of Rajendra Kumar, located next to the chief minister's office in the Delhi Secretariat, the agency had said the proper procedure for the search was followed.
 
The decision to raid was not influenced by any political party and "the colour given by the AAP government is unwarranted", it added.
 
The CBI said it raided the Delhi Secretariat while investigating corruption charges against Rajendra Kumar.
 
Kejriwal claimed his office was raided too, and linked it to a probe he had ordered against Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on issues related to alleged corruption in the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) which Jaitley had led earlier.
 
The CBI denied searching Kejriwal's office.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

Subramani P K

1 year ago

Good judgement. All corrupt crooks should be fixed & brought before law and suitably punished. The politicians abetting to corruption should also be booked without fear or favour. And people like AK who duped the people in the pretext of anti corruption crusade should not be spared.

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