After dispatching water trains to the drought-hit Latur in Maharashtra, the Railway sent a bill of four crores to the District Collector of Latur. Railway officials said they sent the bill after they were ordered by the administration to do so. Meantime, this move from the railway has drawn flak from multiple corners, as the Latur is suffering from the severe drought the nation has ever seen.
Latur District Collector Pandurang Pole received the bill of RS 2.16 crore ten days ago. “The bill of Rs 2.16 crore is for the initial fortnight. So we assume that the total bill till date will be around Rs 4 crore,’’ he said.
He had forwarded the bill to the water authority.
“We are not sure what the rate is and how such a bill has been levied,’’ he said.
Criticizing the move, national parities in the leadership of Congress party came forward against the Central Railway Ministry for asking money from the drough-hit Latur.
“During the Lok Sabha poll, Mr Modi had said that he came from Gujarat and was a real businessman. Now the water bill sent to the state has proved his business skills. Intending to take credit for the water express, the BJP even hoisted its flag on the train as it arrived in Latur,” Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said.
Denying the claim, The Railway in its recent statement said that News about seeking payment for Jaldoot is completely false. “The cost of operations is shared with the state government on their request,” the Railways said via its official Twitter handle.
However, the Railway had admitted earlier that they have sent the bill. “It is up to the district administration whether to pay us or seek waiver,”S K Sood said to PTI.
The Train named “Jaldoot” firstly reached the district on April 11. However the 2.5 million litres of water which was carried in 10 wagon train was not enough to the half million population of the city. This being the case, the train was replaced with 50 wagon trains coming from Kota of Rajasthan.
So far, 62 million liters of water have been sent to Latur through water trains.
Though the District have 131 dams, the Maharashtra Government compelled to dispatch water trains to the town, as the dams depleted earlier this year.
Even after the water supply from the Centre, The people of the town are forced to queue up for a bucket of water in the mornings and evenings.