14/05/2016 12:29 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Maharashtra Drought: Railways Withdraws ₹4 Crore Water Bill Sent To Latur

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
LATUR, INDIA - APRIL 22: Special train carrying around 2.5MLD of water arrives in parched Latur district in Marathwada on April 22, 2016 in Latur, India. Even as the eleventh water-bearing train chugged into Latur station on Friday, bringing in 25 lakh litres of water in its 50 wagons, it was clear that the thirst felt by this city cannot be quenched with just this much. So far, the 11 trains - nine with 10 wagons and two with 50 wagons - have supplied 95 lakh litres of water to the city. That is at least 100 lakh litres less than what Latur, a city of five lakh, needs daily (around 220 to 250 lakh litres). This 35 lakh litres used by the city daily now is less than the daily water used by just 11 breweries and distilleries (45 lakh litres), 300 km away near Aurangabad, Marathwadas most industrialised city. (Photo by Satish Bate/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Railways today withdrew the ₹4 crore water bill sent to the Latur district administration and promised to continue to run water trains to cater to the need of the people in the parched areas of Marthahwada region till the crisis is over.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is personally monitoring the entire operation and has directed that the concerned officials to continue to run the trains till the time there is a need of water and the settlement of the operational expenses will never be a constraint in this regard, according to the statement by railways.

Till now more than 6 crore litres of water has been transported by the Railways from Miraj to Latur. Railway named these trains as 'Jaldoot' to emphasise importance of this crucial endeavour.

Recently the Latur district administration requested Central Railway Administration to indicate the cost of water transportation by railways. In response to this request, Central Railway shared the information on cost of operation in transporting the water.

The settlement of expenditure is not relevant at this point of time as the most important matter is to continue uninterruptedly with the transportation of water to the people in their hour of need, the statement added.

Prabhu has further ordered that the estimate of expenditure which was sent to the Latur district administration, on their request, will be withdrawn immediately.

"The issue of settlement of dues is being considered separately by the Railway Ministry," it said.

Taking note of severe drought condition in Maharashtra, Prabhu took initiative and ordered the Railways to immediately make necessary arrangements for transportation of water in the drought affected areas of state.

Towards this end, Railway Board immediately arranged 100 tank wagons through its Kota Workshop and dispatched them to Maharashtra. Mumbai based Central Railway Zone geared up its machinery and directed its two Divisions namely Solapur and Pune to make arrangements for water transportation.

For the first ten days when the local state administration at Miraj and Latur were to lay pipelines and to create suitable infrastructure, Pune Division of Central Railways on its own, started transporting water through a 10 tank wagon goods train using its limited resources and man power.

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