Drought situation looming large over Vidarbha

Nagpur: The entire Vidarbha region in Maharashtra is facing a drought-like situation following huge water scarcity due to drying of lakes and wells in most of the villages due to intense heat wave conditions.

Approximately 4,300 villages are facing the grim situation as village wells and water bodies are drying up fast, prompting the administration to supply water through tankers for human consumption and live stock.

According to sources, around 331 villages in Amravati, 800 in Yavatmal, 300 in Gadchiroli and 120 in Wardha district of the region in Eastern Maharashtra are severely affected.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar have demanded assistance from the Prime Minister and the Centre has agreed to release Rs 700 crore initially, official sources said.

In Nagpur, Rs 13.99 crores have been spent on tackling the water supply scheme in 354 villages, they said. A number of villages including Narsala, Hudkeshwar, Bahadura, Besa, Kharbi, Hingana, Khapa, Beltarodi and Gondhni are virtually dry and dependent on water supply through tankers.

According to an NGO, the drought situation is not new to the region since it occurs almost every or alternate year. Some drastic initatives including proper water management and alternatives like desalinaton of sea water and its usage needs to be taken, they said. Also, processed sea water can be used for non-drinking facilities including irrigation and other domestic use, the NGO suggested.