As Half of India Reels Under Flood, This Maharashtra Dist Remains Parched; Water Supply to Firms Stopped
A worker checks the water level on a tanker wagon at a railway station in Latur, Maharashtra. (File photo)
Latur: Water supply to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area in Latur district has been stopped due to insufficient reserves in the Manjara dam and other resources after poor rainfall this monsoon, an official said on Wednesday.
With companies in Latur's MIDC already troubled due to the industrial slowdown, the stoppage of water supply since Tuesday has come as a double whammy for factories, specially pulses and cement units, a local industry body said.
The Manjara dam, considered as the lifeline of Latur city, currently has 4,000 million litres of water against its total storage capacity of 2.24 lakh million litres. The requirement of the industrial zones in Latur, located in the perennially drought-hit Marathwada region, is around 3 million litres of water per day, an official said.
In view of this water crisis, the district administration and industry stakeholders held a meeting a month ago, Collector G Shrikant told PTI. "The industries then demanded that the decision to stop water supply be postponed till October 1 against the earlier plan of September 1. But now, since the Manjara dam and other reserves have very low storage, the water supply to MIDC has been stopped since Tuesday after taking owners of the industries into confidence," he said.
"If rains occur and water level of the dam rises, we can think of resuming the supply to these industries for two to three months more," Shrikant said. Residential areas in Latur are also facing shortage and the district administration is planning to ease the situation with tanker water supply, he said.
"But, since the entire man-force is busy with the upcoming state Assembly elections, we will start the tanker water supply from November 1," the collector said. He said the district administration will not be able to make any alternate arrangements for the industries, which can arrange tankers from any of the sources available nearby.
Chandulal Baldawa, president of the Latur District Udyog Samuh, a local body of industries, said the water supply to MIDC has been stopped from Tuesday and this will impact nearly 500 companies operating in two industrial zones here. "We are already facing industrial slowdown, now the stopping of water supply has come as a dual challenge for the industries," he told PTI.
He said the industries can sustain till Diwali (October end), but if water availability worsens further, many units may face severe challenges and may even have to think of curtailing their work force. "Dal (pulses) and cement product industries will face a major trouble here," he added.