Indian Railways today withdrew the Rs 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 emphasize importance of this crucial endeavour.
According to railways, 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ordered that the estimate of expenditure which was sent to the Latur district administration, on their request, will be withdrawn immediately.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. Later, after the laying down of pipelines by the local administration, efforts were strengthened and goods train consisting of 50 wagons was pressed into service.
Railway Administration in Solapur and Pune Divisions is working day and night to accomplish this mega task of transporting water from Miraj to Latur. The entire exercise has been done involving huge logistic arrangements and mobilization of resources.
Railways maintained that in the hour of crisis, Railway Administration rose to the occasion to meet the water needs in the drought affected areas of Maharashtra and together with the local State administration carried out this ongoing exercise in the most effective manner.